We're going to die. Perhaps it's the result of getting older; maybe it's having lost my brother to cancer a couple of years ago, and having seen other people I know, and who were family and friends of people I know die at a fairly young age. For whatever reason, I have noticed that in recent times I have listened more to songs (and written more music) about the brevity of life, and how important it is to live your life while you have it.
One song that I have added to my list of cover tunes that I now perform is Death Cab for Cutie's "I Will Follow You Into The Dark", which jolts you into the reality of our mortality in the first line, "Love of mine, someday you will die, but I'll be close behind and I'll follow you into the dark."
The first time i heard the song, I would have to say I was borderline 'offended' that in listening to music, which is often an 'escape' from the stresses of life, I was confronted with with the fact that I, and everyone I loved, was going to die. But the more I listened to the song, the more I realized it is a love song...darker than perhaps most 'pop' love songs, but full of a sense of commitment to the person who is loved, that, no matter what lies beyond this life, it's something they'll face together. The image that it conjures in my mind is much like the end of the movie "The Notebook", when Allie's time in this life is over, the connection is so great between her and Noah, that they go together...
Another that I have been listening to lately is from Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, "If We Were Vampires." The refrain through the song is "It's knowing that this can't go on forever, likely one of us will have to spend some days alone. Maybe we'll get forty years together, but one day I'll be gone, or one day you'll be gone."
The lyric in the song, however, that caught my ear, and made me think the most, was "Maybe time running out is a gift." As I mulled that thought over, I understood what the songwriter was saying...knowing we have a limited time in this life pushes us to try to make every moment count...because one day there will be no more moments. As the title suggests, 'If we were vampires', if time meant nothing to us, possibly we would not be driven to soak up all the love and passion that life has to offer us.
Although much less dark, one of my own songs that I wrote not long ago, expresses the need to grab the moment we have now and use it, because we aren't guaranteed any moments beyond this one.
The song's title is Say What You've Got To Say, and it's a reminder of the shortness of life, and the need to not wait for some future that may never materialize to live. Do it now. Say it now. The song reminds the listener that "Tomorrow may come. Or it may not. Say what you've got to say."
There are many other songs that express thoughts about our mortality, the need to 'grab the gusto', or that love will extend beyond the life we know here and now.
What are the songs about life, and mortality, that you listen to, that strike a chord with you? And why?