There’s this song, and it may have been out for awhile (checked, and July 2012 is in fact awhile ago) but it didn’t appear on any of my XM stations playlists so I didn’t know about it. Probably because my XM station favorites are rap, hair band, 90’s, Y2K, rap, metal, some weird metal/rap fusion, 90’s grunge and a random alternative. So no, I didn’t know about it. Enter Pandora. That crazy music box of evil. And on a FAMILY ROAD TRIP station of all things. Picture this. I’m deep cleaning my kitchen/main floor after depleting the house of Christmas decorations. I’m rocking out to the greatest selection of music these ears have ever heard. Oldies, Beatles, no-shame guilty pleasure Phillip Phillips, Journey, it was fantastic.
And this song came on, quietly. Unobtrusively. I didn’t really notice it but it sounded sweet. I glanced at the name, sort of remembered maybe hearing it elsewhere, saw it was an acoustic version and went back to cleaning. I liked it, but I didn’t listen to it. But these moody/folksy types of songs have been the kind to draw me in over the last year so I made a mental note of it. I went back to cleaning. Pandora went back to rocking. As I get close to finishing, half a room left to mop, the real version of that song comes on. And I listen. And I cry. And I have to mop up the $%!# tear drops from my freshly cleaned floor. In two lines, it became one of THOSE songs in my life. Now, it haunts me everywhere. I heard it at the gym while waiting for yoga to start a few days later and spent the first ten minutes of class fighting tears. NOW I see it on XM fairly frequently on a station at the bottom of my rotation. It even kicked me in the gut during the Superbowl but advertisers added a goddamn puppy and a goddamn horse to further my emotional turmoil. Yeah, now you know what song I’m talking about. If you don’t, there is a video at the bottom of this post. And I will fully admit I cried during a beer commercial. I have an uncanny ability to make every song about me. And for the past year, every song I hear I can turn into something about my brother. It can even essentially be a song about failed contraceptive but because I spent nights in bed, awake, remembering things, it became about me.
When the lights go out and I’m in my bed / I think of all the madness in my head / all of the things that I did back then / when I’m in my bed/I think of all the memories I’ve had / all of the things that I did back then (T.I. – Memories Back Then)
So there’s my secret. I’m exceptionally emotionally susceptible to music. I tear up every time I hear Tom Petty’s Wildflowers because it makes me think of the cat we only had for a year but died after we moved from California and he loved Tom Petty (true fact). It’s not a bad thing. It just…is. I cry at lyrics. Usually in the car. I think. I remember. I take deep breaths. I well up. Anyway, back to Passenger and the song that gets me teary after hearing three notes because now I’m wicked familiar with it. I love it. I love to hate it. I love the lyrics. It was written for me. Let’s break it down.
You only need the light when it’s burning low / Only miss the sun when it starts to snow / Only know you love her when you let her go. Only know you’ve been high when you’re feeling low / Only hate the road when you’re missing home / Only know you love her when you let her go / And you let her go.
As someone who loves snow, is forever pessimistic and has had a tiny yet consistent pang of homesickness for the past ten years, you should be able to figure this chorus out and why it hits me the way it does. It was the hate the road line that caused the first tears – I love road trips. LOVE THEM. But the road trip leaving Minnesota after Christmas every year, especially this year, is always heart-wrenching. Clearly I didn’t let a “her” go, but I did let a “he” go. I always knew I loved my brother, obviously, and I didn’t necessarily let him go, but I wasn’t thinking about him every day. I took for granted that he would always be there. And then he wasn’t. Now he’s always on my mind and everything jars a memory and it becomes hard not to feel like some time was wasted between us. Which explains why the following verse is what it is.
You see her when you close your eyes / Maybe one day you’ll understand why / Everything you touch surely dies
Because #!$!#@ shit, really. This song, truly, is the worst.
Staring at the ceiling in the dark / Same old empty feeling in your heart / ‘Cause Love comes slow and it goes so fast
It just…sums up everything so easily and perfectly and it’s like they were 75% of the way in my head. I can’t help what I feel, I’m not ashamed, but god help me if I hear it in public. I’m a mess. I try to tune it out but I LIKE IT SO MUCH that I WANT to listen to it. I LIKE that I feel the way I do when I hear it. It makes me sad in the happiest of ways. I am officially adding it to the list of Songs That Will Make Me Cry No Matter What. You know you have your list, too. I’m open to suggestions of other songs to add to mine!
**I wrote this post last night but had no intention of posting it today. But as I walked in to yoga, guess what was playing. And then ten minutes later the instructor decided to theme the class as “Letting Go”. Swear to @#!$!@ god. I took it as a sign. So there you have it.