So I’m sitting in 23K of Aer Lingus flight something or other 35,000 feet above the Bay of Maine* and i started to read a little more of Nick Hornby’s book ” Songbook” and I came across this brilliant idea of his:
i wanted mostly to write about what it was in these songs that made me love them, not what i brought to the songs.
That’s the writing about a song. It’s not writing about how a person’s delving into his heroin addiction reminds of that time in high school when… Or how I heard that song in Spain, so it’s just like… Or how that song was playing when my heart broke, and…the songs that are good transcend place and time and will always be good no matter what place or time you find yourself.
I love music. When people ask what my favorite song is, it’s a really difficult thing to answer. There are very few bands that I like that I don’t love. There are very few songs that I like that I don’t love. Go big or go home, right?
Take one: Seasons by Tyketto.
And I’m slightly cheating here, but to an 8th grader who is just figuring out that an acoustic guitar may just be an extension of his body, as important as an arm or foot, to hear this kinda unknown band act as Brooklyn’s answer to Extreme was amazing. The song structure is brilliant. The acoustic staring off, the kicking in of the whole band as the second verse starts, the singability of the chorus, the solo. It’s all brilliant.
But the most brilliant thing about this song is the bridge (or is it technically the third verse?) when everything drops out and the lyrics “well, this coffee’s gettin cold and i’ve read through your letter so many damn times/i know where i’ve got to go and I should have know better than to waste so much time” ache out through whatever speakers you might be using.
I would be totally cheating if i had said “this reminds me of being 14” because, by Mr. Hornby’s rules, it’s not about the memory but about the song. So I went back recently and listened to the song again.
It’s about emotion. The driving acoustic, the way your heart skips a beat whenthe kick kicks in, the yearning pathos of the “coffee” line (which is brilliant in its daily simplicity) which has one meaning to a 14 year old and a very different meaning to a 38 yr old…and of course leading straight to the power of the near-arena rock ending.
It’s still my favorite. Like every song I like…i mean love.
* I wrote this during takeoff but didn’t think €11 fir an hour of internet was worth it, so I put on Inside Llewyn Davis. I’ll let you know how it is.
PS. Inside Llewyn Davis was good, not great. It was almost a cautionary tale that at times was really cool but others dragged way too much and the story arc was only the slightest bit of a bump.