“Smile Like You Mean It” by the Killers was released in 2005. I always took it as a song about putting on a brave face when you run into the ex or something goes wrong. We have so many other expressions to cover it, like don’t let them see you cry, never show weakness, and never let them see that you’re hurt. That’s pretty much how I was raised, to keep pain private, to always be tough and strong. Part of that seemed to be all about being manly, but it was also about not letting others take advantage of you through a perceived weakness.
The season change has prompted thoughts of dancing, you know, dancing to change, dancing to the joy of warming weather, rising greenery, leaves on trees, and blooming flowers and buds. A lot of good dance songs exist but I turned to “Dance, Dance” by Fall Out Boy. It came out in 2005, fourteen years ago, so does that make it an oldie? How long must a song be out before it’s an oldie, a golden oldie, and a classic? Any thoughts?
You’d think that today’s theme music originated with feeding the cats or something, but, no, this one started with a dream.
The dream had to do with a man that I’d met and the movies. Throughout the dream, he was either trying to get me to go to the movies with him, be in a movie with him, or make a movie with him. A cheery, energetic guy, I never quite understood him or what was going on. But I recalled him saying, “Just how deeply do you believe?”
After thinking about the dream and feeding the cats, that phrase started Nine Inch Nails, “That Hand that Feeds” (2005), streaming through me. “Just how deep do you believe? Will you bite the hand that feeds? Will you chew until it bleeds?”
I awoke with Tom Jones singing “What’s New Pussycat?” in my head.
I don’t know how Tom got in there; I thought he was a bigger person that that. There are multiple unguarded entries into my head, of course. He may have slipped in through an ear opening, my nostrils, or my mouth. My mouth tasted like Tom Jones might have walked through there during the night, when I awoke.
Shrugging off the song, I instead began streaming the Foo Fighters’ “Best of You” from sometime in the first decade of this bold, new century. According to what my memory tells me about an interview I read with Dave Grohl back sometime in the shadow of the song’s release, it was written about breaking away from things that confine you, or something like that. I might be thinking of another song, or making this up completely.
Several lines in the song attract me. Like, “Were you born to resist, or be abused?” I’ve pondered the ways in which our systems abuse us, and how we take it with a tautological shrug, because that’s the way things are.
Later, he sings in a calmer moment, “I’ve got another confession my friend, I’m no fool.
I’m getting tired of starting again, somewhere new.”
That’s really I feel this lethargic summer Friday. I’m getting tired of starting again.
I heard this song in the car while running our usual weekend errands, and turned it up and listened. It employs an honesty and simplicity in the lyrics and melody. Later, I learned one of my favorite recent guys, CeeLo Green, was one of the people behind it. The song was inspired by a conversation between CeeLo and Danger Mouse about artists not being taken seriously unless the artists were insane. Yet, watching the news since then, I get the impression, in this era of personality, that being taken seriously when acting insane extends way beyond artists and into politics and business. We’re inundated with the mundane and tedium, so the insane draws our attention. Then, we start listening more carefully to what the insane are saying, and wonder, “Hmmm…can they be right?”
Here’s Gnarls Barkley with “Crazy,” from two thousand five.
Blasted through another night of dreams. I traveled the world, saw confusion and met it with more confusion. A little clarity came with reflection after I was awake for a while.
Sometimes, you know, you wonder how people get away with what they do. You wonder, where the hell is the justice? What trick of fate lead some through lives of dissatisfaction and loss as others thrive no matter who and what they destroy in the process? We wish for instant karma or some kind of reckoning. We want to know what happens to them. Why do you follow all the rules only to end up bitter and sad as others break the rules and end up wealthy and happy?
I wonder but there aren’t answers. What’s the point of wondering, right? Sure, the unexamined life is much easier to live.
Let’s just rock the days away. Here’s ‘Best of You’ with Dave Grohl and the Foo Fighters, from 2005. It was a song I heard quite a bit that year. Back then, my team was still in the SF Bay area. They were working from home from Santa Rosa, Walnut Creek, San Mateo, Pacifica, San Jose…all over. Once a month, I’d drive down from Ashland in Oregon and meet with them for planning and team building. We’d have lunch, discuss trends and problems, and just chat. The drive wasn’t difficult until I edged into the Bay area traffic around Fairfield. After that, it was hellacious.
Today’s song is another one of those heard while racing around the SF Bay area on the work-shop-errands-eat-sleep-repeat treadmill. Interested in words and unfamiliar with the artist, I kept listening for it and searching for information about her. Of course, this was around 2005. Google and other search engines were strong. They were less about shopping and marketing and more about getting information back then.
I’d already learned the singer-songwriter was Scottish and that this was her debut. Eventually, I found more about the lyrics and then discovered her comments about them.
She said, “’Black Horse’ is inspired by old blues, Nashville psycho hillbillies & hazy memories,” says KT. “It tells the story of finding yourself lost on your path, and a choice has to be made. It’s about gambling, fate, listening to your heart, and having the strength to fight the darkness that’s always willing to carry you off.”
Ah. I get that from the song. Hope you do, too. Here is KT Tunstall with ‘Black Horse & the Cherry Tree’.