5 Songs 500 Words
Just in case you were worried, thatâ€™s one hundred words per song, not five hundred for each. Why limit myself this way? Iâ€™ll admit it just felt like a fun exercise, but I also realized as I made my Top Five Songs of 2009 list that I found it difficult to articulate why I chose each song. Lately Iâ€™ve been thinking a lot about how important music is to me, and how ill-equipped I feel to describe precisely why. Examining my choices closely might enable me to better explain them. The list was made for WTMDâ€™s end of year best-of countdown. I allowed myself to use â€ś100 or fewerâ€ť words per song because hitting exactly 100 might have driven me over the edge.
Sometimes a songâ€™s melody hits me first, sometimes the lyrics. With â€śGot Nuffinâ€™â€ť it was lyrics: â€śIâ€™ve got nothing to lose but darkness and shadows / Got nothing to lose but bitterness and patterns.â€ť Describing how music is put together is where my abilities fall apart, but this is a driving song, a song of force, a song that demands admission to your brain and doesnâ€™t quickly take its leave. â€śGot nothing to lose but emptiness and hang-ups.â€ť Words of daring, words of exhortation, the drive to convince.
When it gets down to it, itâ€™s hard to deal with other people. Day in and day out, itâ€™s continual frustration, from small traffic annoyances to news stories about horrors perpetrated in unspeakable hatred. When we look our neighbor in the eye, we can get worn down. We can lose that empathy, can forget that weâ€™re both just people. This person has dreams just like ours. This song articulates someone elseâ€™s dream so perfectly that it reminds me to be more patient with everyone around me. â€śKeep on dreaming even if it breaks your heart.â€ť I will if you will.
This album came out at the end of June, so maybe it was just timing that put it at the forefront of my mind throughout a lot of drives this summer. Drives to my folksâ€™ house, to the hospital, to the nursing home, to church. A couple of albums, always including this one, on repeat in my car underlining a lonely, frightening journey. Even when my eyes blurred the road, the thought of a time â€śwhen all your scars will just be maps to where you no longer goâ€ť held powerful sway. The power of thought, time, and always love.
â€ś(I Keep On) Risinâ€™ Up,â€ť Mike Doughty
Okay, this one? Just makes me want to move. Mike Doughtyâ€™s a hundred times the wordsmith I will ever be even when he has a bad day. The music makes me want to move and the words make me want to think and practically command me to feel. It hasnâ€™t always felt like a year for rising up. This song makes me remember how good it can feel anyway.
This yearâ€™s perfect song for putting on your headphones and just blasting. Of course what I want to blast might not be what you want to blast. Gomez has sonic complexity, this song changes up the pace enough to play with expectations. As for the pieces of us that we share and that we choose to keep inside? When we speak and when weâ€™re silent? Words, it all comes down to the ones we share. Of course I love this song. I come here and share the pieces that mean the most.