Song of the Week: “A Long December” (Counting Crows)

A little New Year’s preamble before we get to the music, if you’ll indulge me. 2016 was a tough year for all of us, on global, national, and individual levels. Here in America we faced a viciously divisive election, hatred, bigotry, violence, protests, dangerous industrialization, and so much more. Overseas there were horrible terrorist attacks, Brexit, horrific wars, and so much more that I don’t even know about. I’m not a political person, and I’m not very conscious of global events, or even much so of national ones. But in this past year I’ve come, as so many of us have, to realize my place in the world and how important it is to have at least some awareness of the big picture.

We’ve lost many beloved cultural figures — David Bowie, Harper Lee, Muhammad Ali, Carrie Fisher, the list goes on and on. Those figures are icons, inspirations to millions around the globe. It’s been a year of mourning — especially for one particular gorilla that became the subject 0f a seemingly eternal Internet meme, as well as a distressingly popular write-in option during the election. And while there were certainly positives during the year — and I don’t just mean in popular culture — the overall consensus was the the negatives far outweighed the positives. So this week, as we brush off the dust of a tough year and prepare to move forward into a new, hopefully brighter one, I’ll present to you a song of hope and possibility.

It’s become a tradition of mine to post this song on Facebook every January, so this year I thought I would bring it to 13/31. When I decided to write this post (which has been planned since October, mind you), I was very excited to realize that the first day of 2017 would be a Sunday. Very fortunate timing indeed.

There’s a reason I think this is a perfect song to start out the New Year, and it’s not just because the song is literally about the start of a new year. It’s full of all the platitudes and promises we all make as the year begins, but more than that, it’s full of awareness that all of it is empty. We say all of these things we’re going to do to change and make the year better, but they’re always empty promises. And that’s ok. We make these promises to ourselves to ease us through the change. They make us feel alive and as if the changing year is more than just a number. They remind us that life is to be lived. Within a month those promises go out the window and we continue on, letting time do as it will. We make resolutions to remind ourselves that we’re alive and that we have agency in our lives, even if the real changes don’t come from these promises, but from events further down the road. So make your resolutions, and do your best, but remember that even if you fail at your goal for the year, there’s so much more to come. As for me, it’s been so long since I’ve made a resolution.

I guess I should.

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