I have been feeling a little down in the dumps the past few days. Part of it is panic over my complete lack of progress with purchasing holiday gifts. Part of it is how quickly yet another holiday season is advancing. Part of it is confronting the passing of another year and allowing my mind to wander to those aspects of my life in which I feel blocked, unappreciated, and discouraged.
I didn’t want the gloomy mood to fester, so I tried to pick a song that would elevate my spirits. My tune for today absolutely does, though it shouldn’t. It’s a breakup song. It’s a song about being done wrong, deceived, and heartbroken.
But love of and for songs is complicated. Sometimes, I cling to the lyrics, swearing that whoever wrote them either somehow has lived my life in step with me or should at least be my best friend. Sometimes it’s the music behind the words that takes hold–haven’t we all had those beats and arrangements that, try as we might, we can’t get out of our heads? Sometimes, it’s the combined words and instrumentation, and the artists who manage often enough to consistently capture us with both become our favorites.
Then there are songs I treasure because, when I hear them, regardless of the year on the calendar and candles on my most recent birthday cake, I am instantly once again the age I was when I first heard them. I don’t mean that I become nostalgic or simply let my mind drift to the past. I mean that I actually feel the exact way I did at that age. In the case of Wham’s “Last Christmas,” this is 13. And as George sings, the bells chime, and the synthesizers synth (or whatever they do), I am consumed by the same adolescent drama, angst, exuberance, and goofiness that dominated my life and personality then. (And if I’m being honest, somewhat still do.)
This is another one of those holiday songs that I really don’t want to hear anyone else sing. Interestingly, most of the songs I feel that way about are modern songs. I wonder if my distaste for remakes in these instances has more to do with my emotional investments in the original versions than with superior executions?
In any event, I have time today at my disposal. So I am going to listen a few times to George pine for his lost love from last Christmas. And feel better.
And then get some things accomplished!