It’s a hot, hot summer morning. There is a strange stillness in the air; an uneasy calm. Despite the lazy rhythm of the morning, I feel an inexplicable restlessness in me. A restlessness that is becoming hard to shake off, even harder to fathom. I just couldn’t put a finger on it. Maybe it is the mind-numbing heat. Maybe it’s the fact that I am suffering a writer’s block. Or maybe it is just one of those days (I’m sure we all have them).
Midday. The sun shows no mercy. I am just about to resign myself to a state of utter languidness when I hear it. The faint, yet unmistakable, strumming of a guitar. And the sweet, sweet sound of music. Ah, I closed my eyes, and let it seduce me. As I strain to hear the words, I can already feel the edginess easing. That is just what I needed perhaps. Or rather, longed for desperately. In fact, it is after a long, long time that I had heard a song (new, that is) that had managed to stir my senses, just about. It is what inspired me to pen this blog.
Music has always been the chicken soup for my soul. (as I am sure it is for most people) From the soothing lullabies of my infancy, to the cacophonic sounds of my youth, music was always an intrinsic part of life. I consider myself lucky to have been born at a time when the songs of the previous decades (50s and 60s) were still young and carried well over to the next generation. I (and most of my generation) was only too happy to borrow from my parents, and even my grandparents, come to think of it! Then, came the sixties and seventies with music that just “played into our lives”. Songs/albums that you could “carry with you till you died”. In the words of Elton John, “In the 60s and 70s, you could buy 12 albums a week that were all classics.” There was something magical about that. And then there were the anthems. Almost each generation had one. A song that defined who they were, and was truly their own. Songs that made you sit up and look at the world around you, or the one within. Songs that made you happy, or sad. Songs that acquired cult status and became classics in their own way.
Interestingly, the Rolling Stone magazine’s latest compilation of the Top 100 Best Selling Albums of all time (if at all indicative) does feature these very songs/albums. Curiously, the newest album on the list is perhaps U2’s Achtung Baby (1991)! So, does that mean that the past two decades (almost one generation) has not produced a single song/album worthy enough to be given cult status? Are we so devoid of inspiration? Or is there is nothing to talk about: no stories to tell, no pain to share, no heartbreaks to get over, no love to find, no wars to win, no causes to rebel for? I find that hard to believe.
As I look at my toddler son – happily tapping his feet to Bob Marley’s Is This Love – with much amusement, I really hope this generation, (for their own sake), finds their song soon. That they can carry with them for the rest of their lives. Till then, they can borrow one of ours.
I leave you with this song by Slice called Five for Fighting:
There was a time a long, long time ago
Chevys and levees played on the radio
No cell phones, just 20,000 lights
Swaying on a Saturday night alright
Can you imagine that slice of time
Rock and roll was young
People stood in line
To hear music that played into their lives
That you could carry till the day you die
Hey man, sing me a song
When we were everyone
We were more than just a slice of American Pie
Have you read my blog today?
300 million little USA’s
Your doorstep is just a click away
We’ll get together one of these days…