(photo by Kevin Faulker via Pitchfork)

It only takes but twenty seconds for Open Your Heart to do exactly that, plus throw a little salt in the wound, give you a distant pat on the back, and send you packing with a handmade friendship bracelet, a half-full pack of cigarettes, and some fond memories. By the time The Men‘s vocals set in, you’re already dead meat, thanks to some killer guitar riffs that make you feel like you’re seventeen all over again, in the best and worst way possible. This is end-of-summer, post-graduation road trip music. A pensive, silent, chain-smoking, pissing-next-to-the-freeway-in-an-old-Volvo-with-sticky-Big-Gulps-lodged-under-the-seats-and-an AC-that-sounds-like-it’s-going-to-start-a-fire-but-doesn’t-relieve-you-from-the-unrelenting-August-heat kind of road trip. It’s a bumpy car ride punctuated by Polaroid pictures, fueled by adolescent indulgence, with a rattling trunk full of junk and baggage (real and emotional). An endless, but not long enough, journey to drop off your high-school sweetheart at college in the middle of nowhere, knowing that this could be the last time that it will ever just be the two of you, innocent and perfect and untainted like that, because the odds are stacked against you, because someone will probably cheat out of confusion and insecurity, because you’ll grow apart, and because you won’t survive the distance. So, ya, this song, for me, is about that moment before things change, because they always do. Knowing that it’s time to let go, but not knowing how to actually, consciously separate before the involuntarily and irreversible ripping apart happens. Knowing that the phone calls will grow more infrequent, and the voice on the other end more uncertain. So, if by “Best Song Ever” I mean “Song That Reminds Me Of My First Soul Crushing Heartbreak And The Freshman Year I Spent On Valium Weeping Into A Pillow,” this is definitely, definitely, the “Best Song Ever.