Friday, February 7, 2014

That's My Song

Really bad phone picture from
when I went to see them in September
Check this out.
It's awesome and it made me cry a little.

Click here

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.


  1. It's uncanny how you do it, really. I'm so glad you posted this because I love your head, so if you have doubts in there every once in a while? Well then. It's back to pounding, I guess. This song is gorgeous, and this project is even more so, and I've never heard of The National before so I'm even that much more enlightened herein.

    I'm going to try to trick my husband into submitting, somehow. Shh -- don't tell ;)

    1. I love your head, too, Deb.
      This project hit me in all the right places. I'm glad to have introduced you to The National. My work is done here.

  2. I think you have a lot to say and many people to listen! Keep rocking!

  3. Wow. Thank you for sharing this band, this song, and all these people singing their versions of this song. What a fantastic project. I will have this melody stuck in my head for a few days.

    And I struggle with that voice telling me the same things yours does, why bother, who cares, it's already been said before, blah blah blah....
    but you're right. We can all sing our versions and we should. Drown out that inner critic.
    Keep on singing, typing too. :)

    1. Hello Mel, and welcome! It is a great melody to have stuck in your head.
      I frequently use music to drown out the inner critic. It is comforting to know that I'm not the only one with the staggering doubts.

  4. For some reason I'm thinking of a quote from The Fault In Our Stars, and I paraphrase, but it goes something like, "You're so busy being you, you don't even realize how utterly unprecedented you are." And I think that none of is original, and yet all of us are.

    1. I haven't read that book yet and I need to. I like your paraphrased quote, though.
      I quite agree. We are all slightly off-kilter copies, making us original. If we only but see it and celebrate it, though.


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