Our connections to individual songs can be intensely personal. A song might be no more than white noise to one person and yet to another it can be like a punch to the chest that stops the heart and snatches the breath. So it is for me with Steve Forbert’s “Going Down to Laurel.” Released in late 1978, I had been living in Ireland at the time and don’t remember hearing it until the summer of 1979 when I returned to the States. It was the summer before my senior year of college; much of the music I fed on in high school had grown stale and began giving way to new acts like the Ramones and the Clash that would become new favorites. Here came this bright-eyed folkie, full of verve and fun, an undeniable energy synched with the rhythm of my heart.
Posts Tagged ‘Love Song’
Falling in love, a simple and powerful idea, yet those words have been so overused that they’re stripped of meaning. From the opening mariachi horns, Johnny Cash wakes us up to the meaning of falling in love, of falling into that “ring of fire.” His voice, at once tough and desperate, conveys the truth of the experience, makes us understand that “love is a burning thing.”
Falling in love is not a deliberate act, not one we can pre-plan or guide. The heart goes and we follow. It’s a helpless feeling to want someone so much. In that early love, we don’t know what will happen, we don’t k now if the other loves us back or can ever feel the way we do about them. It is less a letting go, then a falling. No rational person would make that choice, and yet we can’t help ourselves. Johnny sings in that hard voice:
Fourth of July – X
Originally performed by the band X and written by Dave Alvin.
In the relationships that matter, sometimes we need only the slightest glimmer of hope to keep trying. That glimmer can come in the oddest of ways – an off-hand conversation or the stirring of a memory. In this song, the epiphany arrives on the Fourth of July with the spark and sparkle of the Mexican kids shooting off fireworks. In that moment, which the chorus of this song captures, love becomes possible.
For us to understand the rejoicing in the glimmer of hope, we need to understand the sense of loss, the drifting apart and the failure of the relationship. Dave Alvin captures the poignancy of fading love in exquisite detail.