NOTE: This post contains MAJOR spoilers for the TV show Cowboy Bebop, specifically the episode “The Real Folk Blues (Part 2).” That said, it’s been on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim since the programming block’s inception almost ten years ago, so you’ve had time to catch it in a rerun.
During my junior year of high school, I was deeply in love with a girl I met at summer camp (yes, I am that kind of guy, thankyouverymuch). She lived in Dillon at the time, which is a good three hours from Bozeman, but that was no big deal. Why, you ask? Speech and debate, of course! That’s right, I joined an extracurricular activity that would give me years of memories and life skills so that I could chase a girl. Jealous you’re not me yet?
As I was saying, I joined Speech and Debate so that we could see each other during meets. She generally made finals, and I generally didn’t, so I had many opportunities to show her some emotional support during competition (I also learned a great deal about Expository speaking). When state came around, I had a great idea: travel to Corvallis (no mean feat) and watch her perform in what must surely be her finest hour! What could possibly go wrong?!
Long story short: plans went awry, I was forced to return early, and our relationship was never the same again.
The Seatbelts and Mai Yamane – “Blue”
“Blue” is a song from the soundtrack to a TV series called Cowboy Bebop, and is the final moment of the series. During the last episode, the main character, Spike, confronts and his former-friend-turned-foe Vicious, killing him, but dying himself in the process. “Blue” is the song that plays over the ending credits, a haunting, bluesy track of alternating beauty and melancholy, and a perfect accompaniment to such a bittersweet ending.
I had purchased the Bebop soundtrack before going to Corvallis, listening to it much of the way there. I don’t remember actually returning to Bozeman, but I remember sitting in my room, listening to this song on repeat.
What makes “Blue” so powerful is how it isn’t overtly sad—it’s the song’s feeling of finality, of release. For me, it’s the sensation of a new perspective, and of looking back on the old one, better understanding everything, but not able to change anything. It’s the look your first love gives you as she walks towards her new husband at the altar, or a half-smile from your best friend as he leaves forever.
I know for a fact that most people won’t quite connect with this one as much, but this song just gets me right here.