We can look too highly on “concepts” thinking too much on a thing rather than on what brings us there. I think this is always why I always loved songs of a certain type. These are the ones that don’t mention the likes of love and violence as much as they show us these things.
Though I rarely bother composing lists, I did do such a thing last night. After all yesterday had been long and gave me too much in the way of thought. It was that way because it was a story day, the kind of day when things are realized and lost or perhaps lost then realized.
You get days like these….days when the sun comes up through the tired and gentle night to the brightness of a new day, only to set again allowing one time to think. Occasionally you do get the long day that trembles into a night making you think of those brief moments of time that exist eternally even if they recount only a hours, be they joyous or sad.
Yesterday was a day that should not yet garner anything in the way of accounting. Everyone has these days that capture so much life. Music certainly cast a reflection on such days. So I started the peculiar exercise of thinking of those songs that tell a story. I composed a list of story songs and thought on these. It was then I thought my list should be about the songs that told the story of a particular day or alluded to a particular day or event even if it addressed those days that led to it. I decided I would limit the list to ten and not repeat an artist. Some are better than others and I did take a little liberty with my rules with a couple. So for those who care about lists I offer mine for ten story songs that recount a day.
Brick by Ben Folds Five: An apolitical, but tragic recounting of a life that will never be realized outside of a faint heart beat.
Casimir Pulaski Day by Sufjan Stevens: Youthful relationship marred by cancer, “the complications that can be lived without.”
The Night They Drove Ole Dixie Down by The Band: A soldier on the wrong side of history and morality recounts the surrender of his nation.
Gold Rush Brides by 10,000 Maniacs: While their sisters sat comfortably in the East, some women braved the mountains and deserts while giving a new nation new life.
Me andBobby McGee by Janis Joplin: Love lost on the open road. (The link takes you to the rendition by Pink.)
Ode To Billy Joe by Bobbie Gentry: Southern Gothic in one of the more enigmatic songs out there. What was thrown from the Tallahatchie bridge?
Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald by Gordon Lightfoot: Tragedy on a November night in the Great Lakes.
A Day in the Life by The Beatles: How often do we pay attention to the news we watch or read before the workaday world?
America by Simon and Garfunkel: Is there anything more American than the road trip?
He Stopped Loving Her Today by George Jones: The end of a life brings an end to a heartbreak.