Resonant Thoughts: Hua Hsu’s “Stay True: A Memoir” (2022)

“Music no longer modeled a better world.”

“She was asking, what is history? Do you see yourself in it? Where did you find your models for being in the world? How did you learn about love and honor and pity and pride and compassion and sacrifice? She was looking for turning points. Maybe a feeling, an attitude toward life, a fondness for certain timbres of laughter, the angle of your head as you listened—all the imperceptible qualities that were passed on through lineage. The shape and size of dreams.”

“’God Only Knows’ suggested the possibility of yearnings beyond love. I couldn’t locate these feelings in the song itself. Was it in the lyrics, these sad lines about drifting apart and rediscovering one’s purpose? Was it in that magical vibration of voices intermingling, the fact that Carl [Wilson] conjured sensations Brian [Wilson] could write but never channel for himself? Maybe it wasn’t in the song so much as in the repeated listenings, these memories stacking on top of one another.”

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