Vary Landers – Uselessness

by | Apr 14, 2021 | Music, Song of the Day

We may define a disorder as any personal construction which is used repeatedly in spite of consistent invalidation. — George A. Kelly, The Psychology of Personal Constructs (1955)

If you always do what you’ve always done, you always get what you’ve always gotten. — Jessie Potter (1981)

My oldest cat was born in a stable, surrounded by horses. Eleven years later, she still longs to roam free with her four-hooved friends, her claws thundering over the prairie as she leads the herd with tail held high. Unfortunately, the cat is of the indoor variety; she grew up in apartments, and in houses with back yards patrolled by hawks and coyotes, and I’ve offered her the courtesy of keeping her alive by keeping her inside.

But now and then — maybe once in every one hundred times that I step to the back door — I’ll put a leash on the old cat and take her for a walk. But the cat, even though she has only a 1% chance of going for a walk, will race to the door and MEOW! at me every time that I go to the door.

The cat is not alone in her non-grasp of probability. I’ve known respected decision-makers who, given a 10% chance of success for a project, would assume that Success was the most-likely outcome. A former significant other would see a forecast predicting a 30% chance of rain and proudly announce: It’s going to rain!

With ‘Uselessness,’ Vary Landers describes the, well, uselessness of repeating our actions and expecting different results, an endeavor made less satisfying by our desire to escape the scars of the past while remaining resistant to change. Unspoken is the near certainty that different actions will yield the same result — i.e. failure — for only when filtered through Facebook can every eventuality end with success.

foolish enough to think
that this will never change

but when it’s different
we want it to stay the same

every day doing
the same dumb things again

all the same things,
just calling them different names

we are not what we think we are
made of stars
and the scars are never going away

‘Uselessness’ is beautiful lo-fi folky-pop, a bit retro, with piles of guitars and a temolo’d lead that ricochets off the bedroom walls. I love the gentle harmonies and the tempo changes that transform a simple song into a mini-suite.

‘Uselessness’ appears on Vary Landers’ new two-song EP, we are not what we think we are. Vary claims residence in Detroit and… and that’s about all that I know about Vary other than that his name is neither Vary Landers nor Lary Vanders. The usual social media stalking turned up naught but a Soundcloud account that is completely void of content. So it goes.

Vary Landers’ music is available on Bandcamp. Here’s another track by Vary Landers: the beautifully poignant ‘Mistakes,’ from the four-song EP, weathering, released last December.

Charles Norman is a writer and historian. Email: Or follow on Instagram and Facebook.

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