From the opening drum solo
that sounds like it was recorded in someone's bathroom
to the drawn-out outro
which may or may not have been improvised
, "Exactly Where I'm At" gives the impression
that it was engineered
just to make you feel good
About the Music:
The song is written in a style that defies labeling. It is simple, some may say repetitive, but they would be missing the subtle developments that occur throughout the song that cause it to build on itself. The first verse and the break after it are very low-key and have somewhat of a calming effect. The second verse has no transition, or maybe it is the transition - it is underscored by a stronger drum and bass line, progressing toward the solo in the middle, which represents controlled chaos. The ending moves ahead in its own direction, fading out without a concrete ending signifying something that has not yet terminated or perhaps the continuation of what was begun. At the very end of the song, before it fades, the music calms down a bit. This reflects the pattern of living. We have our chaos and we have our lucidity, and all things pass in time.
About the Lyrics:
The very first line of the song is a proposition that can be interpreted any number of ways. The one that I relate to the most now is one of reminiscence. Do you remember when everything worked right? Let's start over and start there. The other interpretation that seems to fit with the other part of the line is one of beginning and accommodation. I see myself as being far behind you, so we need to meet on common ground. Let's begin with your past in front. I am interested in things you were before, and though you do not think about it as much now, you used to, and that gives us something in common. The rest of the words go through a process of cultivating a friendship as well. The realization that you are not perfect. That sometimes you can go on and on about unimportant topics. That sometimes we feel like we cannot be ourselves and we struggle to express ourselves in a concrete manner but usually just giving up and smiling. The reality of it is not all pretty but the return to the first verse at the end of the song again both chronicles the cyclical nature of things, as well as strengthening the concept described at the very beginning of the song. Moreover, they make good use of assonance in the second verse, which for some reason, mixed with the ethereal guitar effects and a solid base, seems quite dreamlike.
Overall, a very effective (and affective!) song.