In the wake of tragedy, in trauma, in revisiting trauma, it is easy to succumb to paranoia and fear and not see the bigger picture. I wrote a poem of sorts in the aftermath of Paris about not being afraid. And then I put on Billy Bragg and other protest singers and listened to anti-war songs and songs about forgiveness. I went to church and sang “Morning Has Broken”, as song that moves me every time I hear it. I listened to Cat, and Yusuf, both incarnations of the same man. And then I pulled out the playlist labelled “Shiny Happy Songs”.
Let me be clear that this playlist, though named after that idiotic R.E.M. single, does not actually contain that mess.
The Polyphonic Spree is Tim DeLaughter, formerly of Tripping Daisy, and about one billion of his closest friends creating positive, joyful music like a weird psychedelic Up With People inspired choir. There is rarely a song that doesn’t uplift you to a better feeling, but the specialness of “Light & Day/ Reach For The Sun” (also known as “Section 9”) is in one line- “Just follow the seasons and find the time, reach for the bright side”. Surrounded by a joyful sound, complete with horns and strings, the group soars to heights rarely seen in three and a half minutes. I defy people to listen and not feel happy.
If you don’t, than maybe you should see someone about that.
In the past week I have listened to friends tell stories, I have tried to educate people on history and politics, I have written that keeping our humanity is paramount, and I have pleaded with people to not cave to fear and paranoia. I’m failing and it is discouraging. I see stories confirming my worst fears in the news today. We as a society have learned nothing. Not one thing. So all I can do is instead of feeling despair and anger is to take the one thing that matters most to me, music, and use it to keep my spirits up. The purity of “Light & Day” is where I will start.
“You won’t see me flying into the red.”