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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.

At night.

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.

-mt58

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Thank You For Your Vote!

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mt58

Your grateful host. Good on you all.

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Zeusaphone
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April 21, 2023 1:52 pm

If you have to think about whether or not it’s a 10, it’s not a 10.

dutchg8r
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April 21, 2023 5:10 pm
Reply to  Zeusaphone

^^^^This is the perfect description.

thegue
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April 21, 2023 2:38 pm

I responded to this comment over on the Mothership, but we’re glad you’re here, and thank you for everything you do!

Have a great weekend!

Virgindog
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April 21, 2023 3:39 pm

I had a very similar experience but in 2006. And what turned it around? KT Tunstall’s “Suddenly I See” on the Letterman show, with its heartfelt vocals and hyperactive drums. It showed me there was joy in music and I should pursue it. Perhaps coincidentally, perhaps not, I moved to Nashville the next year.

For me, that specific performance will always be a 10/10.

Last edited 5 months ago by Bill Bois
Ozmoe
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April 21, 2023 3:51 pm

Beautifully written as always, mt58. All the best to you and have a great weekend! (I gave it a 9, by the way. Ask me another day and I might give it a 10 as well.)

Edith G
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April 21, 2023 4:24 pm

Beautiful article . I like this song and I never knew anybody who loves it, and I’m glad that it came to your life in the right moment.

To this day I haven’t fully understood the lyrics yet, but the instrumentation of this song is everything, and it gives a sense of magnificence that you couldn’t hear in any song at the time.

I hope you’re having a nice trip, and take care.

dutchg8r
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April 21, 2023 5:09 pm

I loved reading your post over at Stereogum today mt. I loved reading it again here. I’m very happy you have that association with that Coldplay song.

And I’m sorry I find it Music to Nap To and was less than enthusiastic about my feelings on the song. 😉

Virgindog
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April 21, 2023 5:55 pm
Reply to  dutchg8r

How did I miss it at SG? Is it a comment buried in a comment buried in a comment?

blu_cheez
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April 21, 2023 6:24 pm
Reply to  Virgindog

It’s one of those wonderful Openweb “I didn’t see the comment until I refreshed the page 12 times” things.

dutchg8r
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April 21, 2023 11:38 pm
Reply to  blu_cheez

It’s really good at playing ‘Hide the Crilley’s Categories until the 8th Refresh” game with me.

blu_cheez
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April 21, 2023 6:28 pm

Beautifully written, sir – we all (I think, anyways) have those songs that keep us off the ledge.

10s are either “perfect” songs or those that have some deep, personal resonance. I have some pretty crap songs that are 10s just because they soundtrack-ed something important in my life.

There are also songs that I recognize the deep genius of that really don’t have a personal connection with – those are good as 10s, too.

Hope everyone has a lovely weekend.

cstolliver
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April 21, 2023 7:22 pm

So glad you saw it through, and “Viva la Vida” helped you get there, my friend!

Pauly Steyreen
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April 21, 2023 8:31 pm

I didn’t see your comment until just now mt58. Pretty similar to one from TorrOcie earlier in the thread which I commented on:

Screenshot_20230421-172951_Chrome.jpg
Pauly Steyreen
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April 21, 2023 8:31 pm
Reply to  Pauly Steyreen

TorrOcie part 2:

Screenshot_20230421-172957_Chrome.jpg
Pauly Steyreen
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April 21, 2023 8:32 pm
Reply to  Pauly Steyreen

My comment:

Screenshot_20230421-173005_Chrome.jpg
Pauly Steyreen
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April 21, 2023 8:34 pm
Reply to  Pauly Steyreen

All this is to say, Mr. Show jokes aside, that I think the fortunate among us have been saved by a song, often quite literally. It wasn’t Coldplay for me, but I’ve been there and I know that feeling. Bless you brother!

cappiethedog
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April 21, 2023 10:02 pm

“The Scientist” is one of my comfort songs. Like U2, some people are disappointed by their recent output, and question if they were ever GOAT-caliber in the first place. Coldplay, if you put them against musical artists from other decades are not in the same class. But the aughts? Sure, absolutely. And “Viva la Vida” plays a big part toward Coldplay’s 21st century GOAT-ness.

Like Jenny Lewis sang: “It’s a hit.”

JJ Live At Leeds
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April 22, 2023 4:50 am

Sorry to hear that you went through that mt but glad that you came through and the redemptive power of music played its part. There’s a song for every mood and every moment, I love the randomness of coming across VLV at exactly the right time.

Have a great weekend all!

LinkCrawford
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April 22, 2023 10:24 am

I’m thankful that you got turned around. We only know the cheerful, positive, productive mt58, and you’re a darned good fellow!

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