The Bible verse from the title of the song is: “Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.” (King James Version) And the chorus of the song goes: “I used to live here.” But the narrative is about a guy breaking into an old “house up in Clear Lake where I used to live.”
So John Darnielle is comparing Man’s banishment from Paradise to trying (and inevitably failing) to go back home again. I can dig that. Seven years ago, I had to sell my mom’s house, the house I grew up in, where she had lived for over thirty years. It went back on the market last summer and I looked at the real estate photos online. It was surreal. I often have dreams about going back there, poking around in the garage, and seeing other people’s stuff inside, so to see the realtor’s listing was like a dream coming true. Not exactly a nightmare, but disturbing and strange. When my mom was dying, I was listening to All Hail West Texas almost exclusively. “I want to go home / But I am home.” That lyric from “Riches and Wonders” still gets to me, and this new song explores those feelings a little more.
The Life of the World to Come is due October 6 on 4AD. All of the songs are named after Bible verses. Darnielle describes it as “twelve hard lessons the Bible taught me, kind of.”