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Passing me by ...

So I've been making a driving CD for diatryma as per her blog request, trying to find songs that she might find interesting while also providing a survey of my musical taste, and attempting to end up with a CD that's actually listenable. It is, shall we say, a challenge, but a fun one.

Since Cassie and I listen to very few of the same things, the entire musical contents of my hard drive was fair game, and I ended up going to a few of my own driving favourites. (While somehow forgetting Jimmy Eat World's "Sweetness". Say what you will about Jimmy Eat World, that song is pure awesome for driving. ... If you are me, which I am.) One of the first that came to mind was Sam Roberts' "Brother Down" (a hit song here about six years ago).

The summer that this song first came out it was all over the local radio stations, and I was at that point working full-time at the Office of Student and Academic Services at Atkinson College at York University (which is both easy and fun to say). This meant I was driving every day from Bolton to North York (an hour's drive) in rush hour traffic, and invariably I'd find myself stopped at the horrible intersection of Highways 50 and 7, waiting forever to turn left, when this song would come on.

A key part of the chorus is the line, "I think my life is passing me by." And there in the car, breathing exhaust through the open window of my Tercel, I'd sing that line loudly, over and over as the indicator light ticked in time.

I have a couple of Sam Roberts' CDs now, and have played that song countless times. And somehow whenever "Brother Down" came on, that line was the one I could sing with such conviction. That was the line that resonated. I think my life is passing me by.

But making this CD, switching the order of songs around, listening for flow, I suddenly realized that while I still love singing along to this, Sam Roberts' first hit, that line no longer feels true. Unemployed and counting my pennies, spending my time wandering to the library and typing and playing with the cat, going on random trips, I finally feel like everything's going right.

Days are passing by, and I'm loving every one of them.


( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 28th, 2008 03:45 am (UTC)
Time to switch to some different Sam Roberts I think:
I have a vision in my mind of a life that I've left behind
Yeah, can't you see that lost souls can't swim
You know you'll sink but you still jump in

or maybe:
You're on a bridge to nowhere and you're gettin' there fast
Put it in the past, put it in the past

It's amazing, isn't it, how bad relationship songs are so relevant to moving on from... certain employment situations.
Aug. 28th, 2008 12:32 pm (UTC)
I spent months with Jonathan Coulton's "Code Monkey" as the theme song to my life. I was surprised just how quickly it wasn't any more, once I quit writing code for a living.

It made sense when I thought about it--my actual life has at least as much inertia as the songs that trail along after it--but it was still a surprise.
Aug. 29th, 2008 04:40 am (UTC)
Yeah, I know what you mean. During my last few months, I had a song that I'd listen to over and over again, whose chorus has a key line, "There's a world's worth of work and a need for you." That's really what every day felt like, a world's worth of work. Now I'm free to just enjoy the song.
Aug. 28th, 2008 05:27 pm (UTC)
Hrm. I owe Cassie a CD too; but I have no idea what kind of music she likes.
Aug. 29th, 2008 12:16 am (UTC)
You've sent me one CD, back a while, but I have not reciprocated.
Aug. 29th, 2008 12:25 am (UTC)
Yes, but I also promised more music when you made the request post a while back. Right now, I'm inundated with random music and no time to organize it all.
Aug. 29th, 2008 12:27 am (UTC)
That was me.
Aug. 29th, 2008 04:40 am (UTC)
You should just ask her!
Aug. 29th, 2008 12:18 am (UTC)
There's a song, "The General", by someone I don't know, and every single time it comes on, I have to sing. Can't help it. I usually end up with tears in my eyes because I can't just *sing*, I have to get into it, and it's a song I've tried to steal for my own writing, that kind of good.

It has nothing to do with my life, but it still gets me.
Aug. 29th, 2008 04:43 am (UTC)
Ah yes, I have a song or two like that.

Have you been able to track down the song by googling the lyrics or anything? I'd be interested in hearing that one.
Aug. 29th, 2008 12:24 pm (UTC)
An extremely cursory googling gives me http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_General_(song) , which is in fact the same song. I heard it once, from a girl I knew in high school, liked it, but didn't have a clue how to track it down. Years later, it came on in a friend's car, and she said, "I just really like this song," or something to that effect. It's a nice, pleasant song, and something about it clicked with me superficially at first. After a while, it clicked harder.
Aug. 29th, 2008 02:38 am (UTC)
Hey, I was going to put Sam Roberts on my mix CD for Cassie! Thief! Brigand! Gah!
Aug. 29th, 2008 04:42 am (UTC)
Of course, as a good Canadian you must include at least one Sam Roberts song! (Else we will make you an American, and really, do you want that?) Just don't choose "Brother Down". (Which, I admit, only won out over "Where Have All the Good People Gone" as my chosen song by a close margin.)
Aug. 29th, 2008 04:57 am (UTC)
I think I'm good on the Canadian front now. I've got Metric, k-os, and Arcade Fire.
Aug. 29th, 2008 12:25 pm (UTC)
I should not be reading about my own gifts. 'Tis impolite. But I am happy to have some Arcade Fire on there, because a friend of mine and her mother both keep saying they'll burn me CDs and never actually do. Friend's brother is friends of the band, or a guy in it, I'm not sure.
( 15 comments — Leave a comment )