My dad [Johnny Cash] went to the [Richard] Nixon White House and refused to sing "Welfare Cadillac" (instead performing the anti-war songs "The Ballad of Ira Hayes" and "Man in Black"). He protested the Vietnam War, but he went to perform for the troops with bombs dropping all around him. He had that kind of genius: a true artist's capacity for holding two opposing thoughts at once while being large enough to encompass all realities.
Being singer is different than being an actor, where you call up sources from your own experience that you can apply to whatever Shakespeare drama you're in. But an actor is pretending to be somebody, a singer isn't. And that's the difference. Singers today have to sing songs where there's very little emotion involved. That and the fact that they have to sing hit records from years gone by doesn't leave a lot of room for any kind of intelligent creativity.
Songs and smells will bring you back to a moment in time more than anything else. It's amazing how much can be conjured with a few notes of a song or a solitary whiff of a room. A song you didn't even pay attention to at the time, a place that you didn't even know had a particular smell. I wonder what will someday bring back Dex and our few months together. Maybe the sound of Dido's voice. Maybe the scent of the Aveda shampoo I've been using all summer.
I let people fill in the blanks on their own. If they want to think about their ex, that's fine. If they want to think about maybe who one of my exes is, then that's fine. And it might not be right, because I'm the only one who knows what these songs are really about. It's the one shred of privacy I have in the matter.