Our good friend over at Stereogum, @TomBreihan, wrote about a 2008 Number One Song today.
Here’s something from me:
What’s a “10/10″ recording?”
Is it a tune with a good melody, or profound and meaningful lyrics?
Maybe it’s a perfect, stunningly executed riff.
Or a well-placed hook.
Perhaps it’s a result of great craft, and considered production?
Or maybe it’s just all in your head. You’re hearing a recording and having an illogical, yet undeniable reaction. Today I was vividly reminded of a time from about a decade-and-a-half in the past.
I’d never felt so alone and discouraged as I did in the early summer of 2008.
And these sensations were rapidly spiraling downward.
It seemed that everything that could go wrong, was going wrong. And although I was proactively seeking help for my depression, nothing was helping.
I couldn’t sleep and would spend hours doing the precursor to what we now call “doomscrolling:”
Stepping up and down purposelessly on the remote, through the same 80 channels.
The equivalent of eating terrible fast-food, even when you aren’t hungry, and you know it’s doing more harm than good.
But one night, I fortuitously landed at the exact moment when a TV commercial was starting. Some guys from a band that I knew existed but didn’t follow were on screen, belting out a song that I’d never heard before.
It jolted me to attention like a cold bucket of water to the face.
And after only 30 seconds, it was over.
Later during the dead-quiet hours of the early morning, it replayed over and over in my head.
And when I finally drifted off, it was right there again when I awoke. And it stuck for the rest of the day.
And the next.
I could chalk the whole thing all up to a phase, I suppose. But I well remember: that was around the time when things began to look a little more hopeful. I felt better, and a little more motivated every day.
And during those days, when the scattered light began to sneak through the clouds and shine again, “Viva La Vida” kept me company.
And all summer.
And through the fall.
And into the winter, as well.
It’s the oddest of battle cries. I am aware.
And if I’m thinking logically: all of this all means… nothing.
- I was down.
- And I began to come out of it.
Simple stuff. It’s classic Occam’s Razor in play. It was just some random, coincidental and inadvertent synchronicity, courtesy of Steve Jobs and some guys from London. It just happened to happen. And I just happened to press the “up” button instead of the down on the remote control.
And yet… looking back, I’ve managed to convince myself that there is an connection with a 14 year-old television ad, and the start of my journey to becoming myself once again.
Maybe. Or maybe not. I’ve decided that I don’t care. Because:
This record inspires and cheers me up every time I hear it. To this very day.
I’m grateful that it exists. It’s a 10/10 for me. I guess I just don’t know exactly why it happened to come to me, how and when it did.
For some reason, I can’t explain. Indeed.
Have a great weekend, everyone, and please consider popping in over the next 48, for a look, a comment about our great writers’ articles… or just a simple “hello” to tell us ‘what’s up with you.’
I always appreciate how nice you all are for keeping me – and all of our community – such good company.
Please be careful, take good care of yourselves and each other,
…and good on you all.