George at I’m Not One to Blog, But… has tagged me with the fresh meme he busted: Songs that make you cry.
I have a hard time trying to determine if a song has ever made me cry. Using bloggetic license, however, I am replacing ‘cry’ with ‘so moving they inspire a sudden bought of quiet and thoughtful contemplation’ (but not like the guy who had to stop everything for “Desperado” on that episode of Seinfeld).
Here we go…
“This Must Be the Place (Naïve Melody)” by Talking Heads
I said this in the comments on George’s blog: “‘This Must Be the Place’ would probably be the first and maybe only one on that list. It was our song at our wedding. It just makes me stop when I hear it. Actually ‘it hits me on the head, ahh ohhhh…..’”
But then I remembered that the wedding DJ lost that track so it wasn’t played, still my wife and I consider it our song anyway. It has an innocent simplicity to it that captures the magic of falling in love better than any song I’ve ever heard.
When I first heard it on Speaking in Tongues, I wondered if falling in love was really like that and I hoped that it would be.
Home – is where i want to be
But i guess i’m already there
I come home – – she lifted up her wings
Guess that this must be the place
I know now that it is, which makes me love this song all the more. (I even used it as the title for a post once because it so perfectly captured the depth of feeling about the subject).
“Hard Times in Babylon” by Eliza Gilkyson
This meditation on the loss of a dear friend is heartwrenching. “Gotta hang together when the air’s too thin / Pass out the masks for the oxygen.” Indeed.
“Psalm” by John Coltrane
I could pick any track off Coltrane’s A Love Supreme, but this one is so understated, so quiet, and yet the perfectly chosen notes flowing from his saxophone speak so eloquently of yearning, anguish, heartbreak, hardwon wisdom and hope. It’s all there.
Coltrane wrote a prayer and then blew it into his saxophone.
“City of New Orleans” by Willie Nelson
I remember hearing “City of New Orleans” a lot when I was a kid. It made me think of wide open possibilities and yet there’s something dark there too. Something closed off and lost in those “freight yards full of old black men and the graveyards of the rusted automobiles.”
I know Willie didn’t write it, but it’s his version that moves me. He played it at ACL Fest on Saturday and it was like everything stopped happening around me for just the duration of that song.
“Nightswimming” by R.E.M.
This sends chills down my spine:
The photograph on the dashboard, taken years ago,
Turned around backwards so the windshield shows.
Every streetlight reveals the picture in reverse.
Still, its so much clearer.
Looking back at those reckless good times of youth and knowing that you can’t (and shouldn’t) go there again because you can’t be young again, because everything changes is captured beautifully in this song. You miss those times, those people as they were then, but it’s all memories, all gone forever. “Nightswimming” nails that melancholy feeling perfectly.
So There you have it.
I now tag Chris of Lenwood, Heather In all of Her Strangeness, Fred in the marbled halls of Ironicus Maximus (even though his blog doesn’t really cater to this kind of thing), and Jessica at 4 zillion. No pressure, folks. Except that George promised to “throw a hysterical bawling fit” if the meme dies.