In August, Car Seat Headrest made their energetic late night TV debut performing “Fill in the Blank” on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.
Will Toledo and his three bandmates pounded out the opening track from “Teens of Denial,” the band’s critically acclaimed album that was released in May.
Throughout the performance, “Fill in the Blank” song lyrics flash on four screens behind the band, and fittingly, some of the words are omitted from the lyrics.
Instead, the blank spaces beckon audience members and fans to fill in their own words.
As a Car Seat Headrest fan, I scratch my head wondering how I should fill in those blanks. This song couldn’t come at a better time in my life, and in a sense, it serves as my personal anthem.
It’s an anthem of internal struggle and second guessing – Who am I? What am I doing? What have I accomplished? Where should I go next?
These four questions periodically enter my head and cause me to re-evaluate my life choices and direction.
In a sense, it’s like having a joint conversation in your head with your lifelong best friend and a harsh entertainment critic. One encourages you to proudly document your past achievements, while the other challenges you to write a new chapter.
I sense Toledo has similar thoughts race through his brain as he sings:
“I am so sick of (fill in the blank)/Accomplish more. Accomplish nothing/If I were split in two I would take my fists so I could beat up the rest of me.”
While I’m not here for self-punishment, I can relate to embarking on an internal quest for self-discovery. Some people find themselves while traveling to another country, inventing a new technology or having a family.
For me, music is the first path to my self-discovery – albums, concerts, festivals and friendships – and one of the words I used to fill in my blank space.
However, I’m still trying to find the right words to fill in the rest of the blanks. What other words should I pick? I don’t know right now, and that’s OK.
In “Fill in the Blank,” Toledo says it best for all of us out there questioning our next move:
“It took me a long time to figure out I don’t know what I want/So you’ll ask why?/And there will be no answer/Then you’ll ask for how long?/And there will be no answer.”
I don’t have any other answers right now, but what I’d really like to know is, do you? How are you filling in the blanks?