Or, The song I can’t stop listening to
I’ve been listening to the Beatles a lot lately, now that their catalog finally went digital. I grew up with them, but hadn’t listened to them regularly outside of maybe five songs since…oh, gosh, junior high? Half a lifetime ago.
One of the things that is standing out to me now, is how great they were at stating the obvious in a way that made it profound. This includes songs like “Yesterday” and “Strawberry Fields” that aren’t love songs, but one of my favorite examples is a love song. “I’ve Just Seen a Face,” specifically.
Had it been another day
I might have looked the other way
And I’d have never been aware
But as it is, I’ll dream of her
I mean, that is totally obvious. It’s a truth of every single choice that we make, that choosing one path by necessity closes off others, and that we don’t always understand what those others are.
And yet the way they put the song together makes that notion haunting, because it’s this guy glorying in the fact that he’s just met his dream girl, and that he met her by what feels to him a happy accident, and that if he had made just one choice differently than he wouldn’t even have known what he was missing. But he did meet her, and so we can be happy for him, and with him we can experience that retrospective fear of “what if anything else had happened instead?”