My Funeral Song

Like most things, ideas come to me as I listen to podcasts. Topics jump out at me, and I have an opinion or a fact I like to share. One recent one was a song that would be played at your bespoke funeral. As it happens, I have thought about this one a lot. And I already know what song that should/will be.

A bit off the beaten path, the song comes from one of my favorite indie folk/rock acts: Ray LaMontagne. The song is off of his 2nd album entitled “Till the Sun Turns Black”.


2006

Within You, unlike most of LaMontagne’s songs, is not dependent lyrics for the storytelling. In fact, the only lyrics in the song are “War is not the answer / The answer is within you”. And many repetitions of the words “love”. All of them airily whispered to the listener, as if it was a release of relief. Love being always within you, and the answer to, well, everything.

The reflective message is woven through such an instrumental series of waves. It lulls the listener into a reverie. In my case, it’s a contemplative thought process on looking back at my life. Looking at the love in my life. And celebrating it. If my funeral is happening, as the case may be, I want the people to think back of me and really consider who I was. Not only to them, but to everyone I knew. What was my place in this world from their perspective? And how will they remember me?

I need my life to matter to people. Especially to the people closest to me. To the people who love me and whom I love(d). One hopes, and I do, that that list is long.

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Shameless

So, every time we got a new car, Sirius XM is always an option on the car’s entertainment system. It’s also signed up (automatically) for a 3-month trial. Sounds great, right?

Well, The calendar just ticked over to month 4, day 1 for my new-ish A4, and sure enough, the XM Preview channel is screaming at me (yet again) to subscribe.

“Never miss the great music of yesterday and today!”

“Want to take your music everywhere you are? Subscribe to SiriusXM!”

“Follow your favorite team for every goal, touchdown, and home run!”

Umm, no. I’m good. And that’s when I reach for the iPhone cord and plug in my phone to use CarPlay.

Ahh, back to normal.

But, yesterday, I was in the process of getting out of my car to walk in the grocery store. And right before I open the door, I hear a terrible, terrible noise. Imagine the sound a grinder makes on bare metal mixed with TV static. A screeching, ear-splitting sound at top volume. Horrible on so many levels. Surely this is a mistake, right?

Nope.

It was a commercial that went something like this: “Hate this sound? (Sound plays for 5 seconds) Yeah, who wouldn’t?! (Sound plays again for 5 seconds) Subscribe to SiriusXM to make sure you never hear it again!”

Are you fucking kidding me?!?!

Just shameless. And pathetic.

Guess what you’ve successfully done, Sirius? You’ve ensured I will never, ever again subscribe to your service.

Job well done.

I have a confession to make…

      

Ok, this is probably going to be an unpopular sentiment. So, I’ll just go ahead and get it out of the way. Rip off the band-aid. Here it goes:

“Hamilton” was not the best live musical theater experience I’e ever had.

There.

I said it.

Please don’t get me wrong. “Hamilton” was amazing. Like, really, really amazing. Even my son, who is not normally a musical theater fan, found it enthralling. Myself, Jayme, and the kids were all about the soundtrack both before and after the show.

Every bit of credit and respect goes to Lin Manuel Miranda and crew for creating such a cultural phenomenon. The songs were amazing. The story was gripping. It’s everything you could ask for in a musical.

(Side note: Angelica and her masterpiece “Satisfied” was my favorite part of the entire show!)

But…

In my mind, seeing “Les Miserables” on stage in London in 2003 was and is the hallmark of my theater-going lifetime. Maybe it was because I grew up with “Les Mis”. It was *the* musical that everyone knew and sang. Hell, we even sang a good bit of it in our high school chorus concert(s). Or maybe it was listening to the songs over and over and over again and finally seeing it live and in the flesh in front of me. Valjean with the soaring voice. The powerful ensemble pieces. The heart-wrenching ballads about love and loss.

It was mesmerizing. It also came at a turning point in my life. I was 23, married, had my first job, and really hitting a stride in my new-found adulthood. We were in London, living in Paris, and so many miles from our home in Georgia. We were living our life. There was an independence running throughout the whole experience.

That performance and that experience has stuck with me for these past 15 years, and is the barometer by which everything is judged.

My confession laid bare.

River

River (with Ed Sheeran)
Performed by: Eminem
Written by: Marshall Mathers / Edward Christopher Sheeran / Emile Haynie

I can’t keep my lies straight, what I made you
Terminate my baby
This love triangle, left us in a rectangle
What else can I say? It was fun for a while
That I really woulda’ loved your smile
Didn’t really want to abort
But fuck it, what’s one more lie to tell an unborn child?

I mean…wow

Flight

Flight
Performed by: Lifehouse
Written by: Jason Wade

It’s no secret that music means a great deal to me. It’s soothing when nothing else will soothe me. On the flip slide, it can also tear at me like nothing else can. When I come across “new” music, I usually grab hold of it and just let it wash over me by playing it again and again and again. The band Lifehouse is particularly special to me. They encompass almost the entirety of my relationship with Jayme. One of their earliest songs “Everything” is our wedding song. (Granted, a very long wedding song.)

So when I came across this song while listening to a varied mix of Lifehouse, I realized it was new to me. It was on an album from several years ago that I will admit I hadn’t listed to a lot. But I was in a particularly Lifehouse kind of mood, and I let them all play. The song that caught my ear was called “Flight”.

It is a gorgeous song. A heart-wrenching song. One that is filled with so much emotion. And what I love about it is that you can hear it in the way Jason (Wade) sings it. The music swells. It builds. The feeling is building to something. Building to a resolution. Building to freedom.

These lyrics just slay me:

No more running, no more hiding
No more hurting, no more crying
No more trouble, no more sighing
No more falling, no more striving
No more heartache, no more fighting
No more fears, only flying

Listen to Jason sing them. If that doesn’t engender resolve and purpose in your own soul, I’m not sure what will.

Do yourself a favor, listen in the video below:

Promise Me No Promises

At dinner tonight, Caroline wanted us to hear a song she likes (she likes the beat, she says). Turns out it was a song called “No Promises” by a band called Cheat Codes.

She’s right, it does have a very good beat to the song. But I couldn’t get past one line in the song:

“Promise me no promises”

Wha?!?!

How can you promise no promises? The very act of promising no promises breaks the promise that you just got done promising you wouldn’t promise. Hence, you can never make that promise without breaking said promise, and the world ends up folding in upon itself. Now if you kept up with that, maybe you can explain it to me!

And, oh by the way, it fascinates me that she listens to music through Pandora (for random “shuffle”), and YouTube (of all things) for finding a specific song. No iTunes, no Amazon Music. No taking advantage of our extremely large existing iTunes library.

Purchasing music may, in fact, be leaving us. This fact just proves to me that the “latest trend” is passing me by.

And with that, my transformation to my dad is complete.