Many things we experience are shallow. We only have the most basic understanding of what we see, and for good reason. There is too much in the world to learn everything, understand everything, experience everything. So when we hear about a new song, a new band, a new book, a new movie, we have to be able to quickly assess if it’s worth our time because we can’t listen to every band, read everything book, or watch every movie. We have to discriminate. We get as little information as we need to decide if we’ll enjoy an experience.
Which brings me to this song that people probably won’t listen to, but even if they do, they won’t think too hard about.
And that’s a shame.
This song and video perfectly sum up life for musicians. It’s a life most people outside of music never think about, but it’s incredibly relatable. Most people don’t think about the hours upon hours spent on the road between shows, the driving through the night, the terrible conditions, the lack of sleep, the soul crushing experience of playing to next to no audience, etc.
I think, if given a chance, most people can relate to this story. Whatever it is you’re doing, it probably isn’t easy. There’s probably a lot of failing and a lot of fear that it’ll never work out. But it’s more than that because it’s not a simple story. It’s not Katy Perry talking about being a tiger. It’s their life. It’s real people experiencing what we all experience. The drudgery of trying to do something.
This song is basically a song about perseverance, but without some glorious payoff. It’s just a song about life. Hitting a wall in whatever you’re trying to do.
“We’ve had some dark days, we’re in the thick of it now.”
Working to overcome it but never seeing any progress until you feel you have nothing left to give.
“We’re wasting away, bit by bit.”
But realizing that this isn’t going to stop you.
“Oh it was cold but still it wasn’t cold enough, to freeze the blood beneath my spine, and at least I survived.”
You can be repeatedly beaten down, but keep going anyway. Maybe because you’re foolish. Maybe because you don’t know what else to do. Maybe because all the dark days were fun. Not in some overly romantic way. They sucked. Losing sucks. Failing sucks. But in between the suck were experiences you never thought you’d have. Relationships that you wouldn’t have formed without dragging yourself, being dragged, dragging others through the shit thrown at you. You don’t become a tiger at the end of it, because it never really ends. There will probably be more dark days, and maybe that’s the only thing you’ll get in life. But it sometimes seems like the entire point of it all is to keep going as long as you can survive.
That’s not exactly an in-depth review of the song, but it’s what is often passed over in the moment of judgment, the moment of discrimination to get on with your day. The backstory of a band that you would never know if you didn’t stop for a moment to listen. A story that relates to everyone, even if you never touched an instrument.
If just given some time, most people have stories to tell. And many are worth listening to.