reunion

Over on my favorite podcast, they’re running the annual Song of Summer contest, where listeners send in suggestions and then instead of a blood match to the death, we vote. If you’re a Spotify user, you can check out the 40 most popular songs here. One song that didn’t make the list just happens to be my favorite song of this early summer season, and is destined for my own personal musical hall of fame. It’s called Reunion, by the band M83. I’ll give you a link to the song, but as with most great songs, I’d recommend picking a special place and time. I’ve always believed that you can only listen to a song for the first time once, and because of this, the circumstances under which you experience your first listen can color how that song is remembered for the rest of your life. In my case, it was late at night, sitting in my car under a tree in the church parking lot across from my house. From the first guitar blast, I knew the song was mine. My own Boys of Summer, even. I know I’m moving into David Byrne territory here, who said (I think) that “writing about music is like dancing about architecture.” In other words, close to impossible. And if you try it, you’re bound to look like an idiot. So much of what matters in great music or great books, or any great art, is what it doesn’t say, the questions it asks. I stopped loving REM so much when I could finally figure out what Michael Stipe was saying, post-Fables of the Reconstruction. It was better when I couldn’t understand him because then I could really believe that he was mumbling in my ear and no one else’s. Each person experiences a piece of music or a poem or painting differently. Those differences are the mysteries embedded in the art. Like the kids in this picture, I don’t want to know anything about them. Like the band itself, I don’t know who the singer is or what country they come from. I can barely understand the lyrics, and the female, spoken-word bridge makes me shiver, even though I’ve never taken the time to learn what she’s saying. I know I could look it all up on Wikipedia, but I’d rather not know. What I do know is that every time I hear this song, I get goosebumps. I think the best summer songs are those that make you remember what summer was like after it’s gone. This song is both nostalgic and rocking. Like summer should be.

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