Three Songs

Today’s Writing 101 challenge – to write for 15 minutes about three songs that have significance for me…

I will begin with “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” by the Rolling Stones. In terms of structure, it is a complete song, building from simple percussion, through Mick Jagger’s diamond-edged vocals, to a haunting choral finale, all against a driving and undulating rhythm. Lyrically, it speaks of frustration and hope, and this is probably why it has significance for me –  epitomizing the angst of my long drawn out adolescence, remnants of which can still be found hanging from my psyche like the rotting jacket on a scarecrow.

After the longing comes the fulfillment – in the words of the song,  “…you get what you need”. The haunting, almost painfully slow lyricism of “Stay with me ’till Dawn” by Judie Tzuke captures a very special period in my life, where the dawn has a metaphorical significance, a true beginning.. It is a long time since I last heard the song because, like Sartre in “Nausea” where he wrote about his fears of wearing out the power of memories if they are recalled too often, I never want the feelings evoked by the song to fade. The song is like a treasured bottle of wine that can never be opened, however paradoxical that seems.

And after the dawn comes loss and loneliness again, this time in the form of Harry Nilsson’s  “Without You”. He is a glass-blower, shaping a vase with a long and slender neck that you know will break when he hits the right note.

So, here are  three songs whose themes of longing, fulfillment and loss recur through our lives on an endless loop…


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