Songwriters have always touched me. I appreciate a good melody and harmony, I even know the difference between an arpeggio and a cord, a symphony and a sonata, but I ever was a lover of words. An author or a poet can paint pictures with words, they can tell us the emotions to be felt, describe them in every tiny and monstrous detail, but a songwriter has other means. A song, for all its brevity, can contain an enormous amount of meaning even a poet would stumble to convey. So when I look for a song, a good song, I judge the words as much as the music, the emotion more than the skill, the content above the substance.
I was listening to my favorites play list while I worked the other day, in the midst of a fascinating article about the importance of engineering expertise in the air conditioning industry just after the turn of the century. (Yes, it actually was interesting.) Thank U, a song by Alanis Morissette came over my headset. Now Alanis gets a bad wrap because of her vocal style, but I’ve always enjoyed her. She sings about harsh subjects, anger and pain, so I always though her style appropriate. (And she actually can sing, as evidenced by her role in the movie De-Lovely about Cole Porter.) I hadn’t heard Thank U in quite a long time. My favorites play list contains almost 400 songs , so it takes a while to cycle through. Hearing it just then, with everything I had been thinking of these past few weeks, convinced me Alanis is, in truth, a genius.
”Thank you India.” Thank you for the Buddha. I don’t doubt that India, as it claws its way to prosperity, still has much to teach the rest of the world, especially those of use who have grown cozy in our affluent societies.
”Thank you terror.” Thank you for showing me the fear within my own mind, the nature of my mind, and the every changing, transitory nature of life.
”Thank you disillusionment.” Thank you for tearing the veils from my eyes. Thank you for showing me that disappointment is not the end of the world. Thank you for giving me the courage to look in the scary places and ask the hard questions. I could have gone through my life accepting the illusions that I and society had built around me.
”Thank you frailty.” Thank you for always showing me how much I have to loose, that I might be grateful for it. Thank you for showing me that pain is just as transitory as pleasure. Thank you for teaching me to be careful and mindful.
”Thank you consequence.” Thank you for the understanding that all things are interdependent. Thank you for knowing I am not alone. My actions have an impact, even the very smallest ones, even the very largest ones, and there are others all around me.
”Thank you, thank you silence.” Thank you for all the people who sit with me and around me. Thank you for teaching me how to let go of my awkwardness, how to not seek distraction, and how to be.
”The moment I let go of it, Was the moment I got more than I could handle. The moment I jumped off of it, Was the moment I touched down.”
Thank you for all the negative things which aren't really negative at all.