I vowed yesterday — no more sadness. So here we go, no sad tears, only thoughtful reflections (I don’t mean to sound like a crazy new-age hippie. I eat meat and go to Target and love shopping and technology, so you know that ain’t me.) But because I’m a writer first, I’m always extrapolating concepts from songs, TV, movies, everyday conversation, looking for meaning, even when it’s not there. OK, a lot of when it’s not there. It’s a strange kind of narcissism, I guess, to try to insert yourself into everything. But alas, I can’t do anything about it but accept it. And say thanks for the songs that really GRAB me. There are many — a lot of which I can’t explain, like the entire Tripping Daisy album “I Am An Elastic Firecracker.” But here are three that come to mind…
Oh, and to recap, this is part 3 of a blog series about songs that elicit emotion. Blah blah blah.
“This Is It (Your Soul), Hothouse Flowers
I don’t think the auto-play thing on here is gonna work. Click it. It’s worth it.
This is one of those songs I missed in the 90s, and probably wouldn’t have appreciated either way, because the message is more mature, more for the world-weary life traveler. I, like all of y’all, have had a tough time here or there, and that’s what’s made me who I am now. I’m finally – FINALLY – understanding what the hell life is about, and it’s not about worry, fear and strife, not about making yourself anything it’s not meant to be. One night a few months ago I was downloading music – Echo and the Bunnymen, I think – and Hothouse Flowers was suggested. I remembered hearing about them back in the day, so I sampled one of the songs, and somehow found this one. From the first verse, I was inspired. This song is pure magic, and it’s pure genius too. And not to go all softy-Sarah-Feelgood on you, but it’s good for your soul to listen to this kind of stuff every now and then. It’s not cheesy. It’s just … happy.You’ve been disturbed from your sleep You’ve been laid down on the floor You’ve been looking around for your family Now your body’s tired and sore Well there’s rest that’s in the water And there’s an answer on the streets And if you take the time to listen There’s a chance you will meet Your soul This is it… This is your soul” “And they’re talking at you not with you And you’re bored with what’s around And you’ve tried all the quacks, all the doctors and all you really need And all you really need is a healing sound But just listen to the waters Find the answer on the street Because now it’s time to listen, now it’s time to meet Your soul, now this is it It’s time to meet your soul Your crying soul This is your soul Set free your soul”
“Southern Cross,” Crosby, Still and Nash
Not only does this have the dubious honor of making my emotional list, it’s my all-time favorite song – I think. It’s about sailing. It’s about love. It’s about breakups. It’s about love of music. It’s about ME. Every lyric of this song is beautiful, and I got back and forth as to what my favorite is. I think the perennial favorite is this:“So we cheated and we lied And we tested And we never failed to fail It was the easiest thing to do. You will survive being bested. Somebody fine Will come along Make me forget about loving you. At the Southern Cross.”
So much majesty. Damn I love this song. It was among my mother’s favorites too. Back in the day when I still had a clock radio, this song would often be on the station I set the radio to, 103.3 in Tulsa. Those mornings, I would roll over in bed and just absorb the song. It probably doesn’t hurt that I have a romantic notion of living on a boat someday…
While a great deal of CC’s songs could end up on the Sad Song List (“High Life” and “Sullivan Street” come to mind), this song is just downright uplifting. It makes me want to run really fast down a hill, flailing my arms. To me, it’s a reminder to, you know, live your life to the fullest and shit.“When I think of heaven (Deliver me in a black-winged bird) I think of dying Lay me down in a field of flame and heather Render up my body into the burning heart of God in the belly of a black-winged bird Don’t try to bleed me I’ve been here before and I deserve a little more I belong in the service of the Queen I belong anywhere but in between She’s been dying I been drinking and I am the Rain King.”
OK, tomorrow we’ll deal with social commentary songs — the revolution-starters…