Song Reflections: Fair to Midland “Musical Chairs”

“Musical Chairs” — people taking turns, always moving, trying not to miss out on a chair.  This is a cautionary tale of sorts, of what it can feel like, chasing the tails of the latest trends or following the crowd.  “The right of way is a wild goose chase” — the rat chase of trying to stay ahead, sticking to what’s proven and reliable — it may leave you feeling bewildered and restless.

There are some things that don’t change, that don’t need to change.  And knowing who or what you are, and sticking to it no matter what — there is a great sense of focus, comfort and strength in that.  “I’m just a stick in the mud” he says, and I admire him for that.


Song Reflections: Copeland “Chin Up”

This is a song about keeping up a front, a pretense.  I’m not saying that’s something we shouldn’t do.  I’m glad we all do it, as I wouldn’t be able to handle everybody’s raw stuff all the time… but it does take a great effort, to keep up the social grace.

It takes a great deal of energy to pretend, and to keep a secret.  I really believe that a person who doesn’t need to keep anything hidden is a happy one.  I’m getting more used to opening up, having less to hide.  That being said, though, I still think the public/private divide exists, because we do want to approach it a certain way, to create the kind of impact or interaction that’s inline with our values.

But for a lot of us, that public/private divide exists because of fear.  Fear that we have to hide some parts, that they are not acceptable, that if others could see them you will not be OK.  That’s when it becomes draining, and fragile.  That’s really not a problem we can solve quickly, so while we walk toward that state of having nothing to hide, on the way we just have to take a break and recharge, so we can go back to facing the world.   Maybe next time we’ll do it less from fear, and more from love.

Song Reflections: Cloud Cult “There Is So Much Energy in Us”

This is the final song of the epic journey that is the Lightchasers album.  After a long and arduous journey, the crew is tired and exhausted, and they didn’t find what they were looking for.  I love happy endings as much as everybody, I was fortunate enough to have some of those myself — but what’s so real about this song is that it talks about needing to go on.  Whether you find it or you didn’t, you won or you lost, you wake up the next day, go to bathroom and brush your teeth…  Life goes on.

Destinations can be so overrated sometimes.  Life is what happens when you’re on the way.  You’re always on the way somewhere, and if you arrive, then you start going somewhere else.  Achieving your goals, arriving somewhere is fantastic — but after you’re done celebrating, you pick a new destination and keep going again.  That’s what’s good about life.  To have some place to go ahead of you.  To have dreams and hopes still unrealized is a blessing.  They give me reasons to carry on.

Still can’t find it. Still can’t find it.
The fuel is nearly spent. Check the maps again.
Can’t let go of it. Can’t let go of it.
Now the crew is cold and drunk on chemicals.
Can’t believe in it. Can’t believe in it.
And I heard the captain say, I heard the captain say,
“We’ re so close to it, so very close to it.
We still have energy in us.”


Song Reflections: Townes Van Zandt & Lyle Lovett “Lungs”

I’m not a country fan, unfortunately.  I wished if I was, because there is a lot of it around, but this song, particularly the way Lyle Lovett did, really resonates with me.  It is very close to being rock n roll in its subtle, understated ways, and Lyle’s clean voice delivering these hard, challenging lyrics really speak to me.

And what a song it is.  I honestly can’t quite make out what the song is about — it is so far above my head.  I just admire how he can string together such insightful lines and create both emotional impact and mystery at the same time.  It is inspiring to me as a songwriter.

While I can’t make out the whole story, there are many lines here that resonate with me.  Like the idea that an indecision is a lonely thing.  Or about voices distracting from the outside, and you having to stand your ground.  And the fact that I can’t quite put together the big picture from these pieces only add to the charm here — depending on your life experience, different lines will have different meanings, and you draw out your own, individual significance.  All the while retaining the sense of mystery.  It’s very hard to write a song like this, though I try to.  So I keep coming back to this one, to marvel at it.

Song Reflections: Midnight Oil “Bring on the Change”

Midnight Oil was motivated by talking about things in big scales, from societal and political points of view, and I love them for it.  But as for relating to their songs, I always bring it down to a personal level.

I appreciate this song because ultimately, it is about a desire to change — and the frustration that comes from inability to do so in a quicker, more efficient manner.  Change is to do or be something different from what you’re used to.  Often it comes with a lot of struggle.  I particularly appreciate the end of this song, where the baritone Peter Garrett climbs up to a rare high squeal yelling “change, change, c’mon… change!!”  I feel like somebody grabbing my shoulders, shaking me and screaming in my face.  Sometimes that’s what it takes.

I am the only one who can change, and I am the only thing I can change.  If I don’t change, then I’m giving up one thing over which I have the power to subject to my will.  I do often feel stuck,  feeling powerless — so just to prove to myself that I have the power to change, I’d try small changes.  From where I set my toothbrush to using a different phrase for mundane greetings, I build momentum based on little things that I know are within my control.  And listen to this song.  Remind myself that I have the power.  Amplify that voice in my head.

And change.