Nishat Recommends: “Stumble” by Ocean Glass

(Photo by Josh Johnson, Courtesy of Ocean Glass)

Perhaps it might be haughty to recommend a song I wrote and recorded with my band. (Just kidding, I know it is.) But, it might also be fair to say that this song extends and exists beyond the scope of myself.

I’ve been writing mediocre songs and poems about love and heartbreak and other great clichés ever since the beginning of middle school, but writing the chorus to “Stumble” in the tiny living room of my sophomore year apartment to the acoustic finger-picking of my bandmates on the couch felt like the first moment of something real: and it was.

“I wanna run away from you,
I wanna run away from you, now.
I wanna run away from you,
But you tied me down.”

When I first wrote those lines in 2012, they were about a high-school crush I just couldn’t shake. And then a few years later that chorus felt tied to escaping an emotionally abusive relationship I had just left. As of late, I always ask the crowd have you ever stayed together with someone that wasn’t right for you because of a silly reason like they have your favorite pair of socks, or your favorite mix cd is still in their car? while the guys on stage tune their strings. And right before we kick into the intro, I tell them if you needed a sign to leave someone that wasn’t good for you, this song is that sign.

The beauty of “Stumble”, though, is that it doesn’t have to be a song about misery. In ten days time of writing this, I’m going to say ‘I do’ to the woman I love. And my mother, who has very little acquaintance with a Western catalogue of music, asked me if we could dance to “Stumble” for our dance together at the reception. To me and in terms of my mother, that chorus my friends are always so good about singing back to us at shows, is a reminder of how my mom has always kept me grounded when my wild head spins me away.

“I stumble a little bit every time I see you.”

Look, maybe my personally biased spiel wasn’t enough to convince you, but play the song and you’ll see that “Stumble” is what you spin when the leaves give up their colors, when the old love isn’t good enough, when the new one might be, when you catch that look in someone’s eyes so striking, it almost knocks you down.

“Stumble” isn’t a song just for me. It’s for me, and you, and for anyone looking for a reason.

(Song recommendation by Nishat Ahmed)

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