Reflections On Writing For The Daily Vault

The Daily Vault at 20

by Michael Broyles

As I walked on with a heavy heart
Then a stone danced on the tide
And the song went on
Though the lights were gone
And the North wind gently sighed

--The Pogues, “Lullaby Of London,” written by Shane MacGowan 

20_150Out of all the reviews I wrote for the Daily Vault, my favorite was my last one: La Roux’s self-titled album. It contained, of course, the shortcomings and failures evident in all my writing at the time, and the album deserved a much higher grade than I gave it. But, to my surprise some time later, it expressed a premonition of sorts for my personal life. In it, I discussed how La Roux conjured the past to usher in the music of the future. Well, La Roux has since changed from a duo of singer Elly Jackson and producer Ben Langmaid to Elly’s solo act, and I have since changed from a wild, brooding, and unpredictable young man to a rather tame thirty-one year old who writes, teaches college, and prefers my home and my records to any club or bar. I’ll leave it up to you to assess whether I was correct about La Roux representing the future of popular music. What I’ve come to realize, though, is that La Roux’s album and my review of it held a key to my own future.

I wrote for the Daily Vault during what were among the worst years of my life, for reasons too extensive to describe here. But I want to elaborate on one situation that arose not too long after I stopped writing for them. This situation was the start of my understanding of the grace that the publication showered upon me during those weary years.

When Freddie King asks, “Have you ever loved a woman so much you tremble in pain?,” I answer with a resounding yes, then recall that I did not just tremble in pain, but I writhed on the ground, I clutched my chest with anxiety, I puked, I drove my car at (sometimes) ungodly speeds listening to The Clash or Wu-Tang Clan, and I cried myself into a sopping stupor while Prince’s “Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad?” boomed from my home speakers. I was thinking about a woman who had no love for me, and who did not deserve the wrath of my upset given that there is no requirement upon birth that she must. If there was, love would be meaningless, and that is perhaps what I was looking for: meaningless love. I unfairly imagined her as my savior—a pedestal impossible to meet. And yet, there I was, wracked with guilt and pain and self-hatred, cursing this impossibility.

I’m unsure exactly how long it took for me to connect that situation with my review of La Roux’s album. But I did, and I still do. Among the many revelations I gained from writing for the Daily Vault, I had come to see Elly’s line, “I’m not turned onto love until it’s cheap,” as a lament rather than a celebration.

Life is good and meaningful for me now, and I have no reason to suspect my fortune will cease. As I reflect upon those sullied years surrounding my writing for Daily Vault, the prescient words penned by Richard M. Jones and performed by innumerable vocalists since appear before me:

Trouble in mind
I’m blue
But I won’t be blue always
The sun’s gonna shine in my back door some day.

The Daily Vault was a sunray upon my troubled mind.

All content © The Daily Vault unless otherwise stated. All rights reserved. Reproduction of any article or any portion thereof without express written consent of The Daily Vault is prohibited. Album covers are the intellectual property of their respective record labels, and are used in the context of reviews and stories for reference purposes only.