|Really bad phone picture from |
when I went to see them in September
It's awesome and it made me cry a little.
The National are one of my favorite bands. "I Need My Girl" is one of my favorite songs by them. I sing along to it at least once a day. At the top of my lungs, under my breath, in harmony, on pitch, making up my own counter-melody, off key, on repeat. However I feel like it. I eat the songs I like. I consume them and make them mine, all mine.
So did these people. But they did more than that. They practiced, they played guitars, they got their friends, their kids(!) to help them out and they recorded them. Watch a few of the videos. The little girl rocking the giant xylophone in the "Family Band" one is enough to just break your heart. This guy played it only on household items! They moved past just singing in their living rooms, their kitchens, their bedrooms. They opened their doors and they let us see in.
They recorded them and they submitted them to this contest. That takes courage. That takes a little something extra.
It's so completely awesome, I'm just crying about it. The band sees all these people eating their songs in their own ways and they think - "Let's reward this. Let's give them some exposure and some money." That's really cool. They could have gone all Metallica on them and sued them. "THAT'S MY SONG! NOT YOURS!"
But they didn't do that. And now I got to spend a few minutes this morning watching total strangers interpret one of my favorite songs. It's extremely post-modern and lovely with the YouTube and the website and all that.
But this kind of thing has been going on since there were people to sing. It was how stories were told. It's how information was passed from generation to generation. It's how people have rejoiced, have mourned, have prayed, have shared for always. Each story gets changed in the telling; each person who takes and eats it, makes it into their own. This is so overwhelmingly beautiful. I'm nearly speechless.
One of my favorite bands created a beautiful song. It tells a story that's personal to them. I hear it and it reminds me of my personal story in some ways and I love it and listen to it. All these people all over the world are doing the same thing, but they are taking the extra step and they're sharing it. So, full circle, the band gets to see their story told in a thousand different voices, making the story a little bit different, a little bit new.
Sometimes I sit and I pound on my keyboard and I think terrible things.
What do you have to say that anyone wants to listen to?
Why is this story important to anyone except you?
Why are you wasting your time?
I will probably never stop thinking those things completely. But listening to these raw and lovely renditions of one of my favorite songs this morning, I remember why I do this. And I thank the people who showed some courage, did a little something extra, and opened their doors.
We all have stories to tell. The wise man says "There is nothing new under the sun," and I believe him. All our stories could be boiled into the same basic parts with very little variation. We could all sing the same song. And often, we do.
But look what happens when we do.