Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Great Songs You May Never Have Heard (4)

The danger of course with a series of posts like this is that there are inevitably people who point to a song I name and say, "What the hell? Of course I know it!" Or, casting a slightly wider net, if not the song, then they know the band.

Late 2010 saw the release of a new album by Guster, but aside from some airplay on satellite radio (which we happened to have in a rental vehicle while traveling), there was nothing anywhere we were able to listen. And then, midway through 2011, CBC Radio 2 picked up on the album, Easy Wonderful, especially giving airplay to "Do You Love Me" (for my money one of the best love songs of the past few years) and "Architects and Engineers." And of course they have a rabid fan base, known as Gusteroids.

Several years ago, though, another Guster album was released, reaching to about the mid-30s on the Billboard charts. Again, though, most radio play was via alternative radio stations. That album, Keep It Together, includes a song that has a deep resonance for me. "Come Downstairs and Say Hello" (not an official video, obviously) is a beautiful song, fluid and honey-like to the ears, but with lyrics that have spoken to me, most deeply on days when I've questioned myself and where I was going in my life (and yes, I've had plenty of those: not long before I sold my novel I was seriously considering quitting writing).

"To tell you the truth I've said it before/Tomorrow I start in a new direction/One last time these words from me/I'm never saying them again." Those lyrics still ride in my head, and remind me how tough those moments can be, when you second-guess yourself, when you fall into the same damned rut and feel completely unable to escape it. There were days where I would promise myself I was done with the nonsense, would step up to the plate and take care of what needed taking care of, only to repeat myself the very next day. To know that there were people out there who were familiar with this situation themselves, and able to complete such a marvelous piece of music out of it, well, that managed to pick me up and help me move on to the next level.

And besides, how can you resist a song that name checks the whole Dark Side of Oz thing?

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