“The things that matter don’t necessarily make sense.”
That is a line from Turtle Diary by Russell Hoban. It has stayed with me because I meet its truth over and over again.
Especially with music.
All my life, songs have been getting stuck in my head. With the exception of the unwelcome ear worms that get stuck in everybody’s head, they mean something. They have the power of dreams.
When I heard the latest song float by at someone else’s house on Sirius, I was tired—almost always a requirement for songs to stick. I had heard it before, but not until that night did it decide to move in and stay.
It wanted to be played. It demanded to be played. The next day it nagged and kicked at me until I bought it on iTunes. Then it hung around, insistently, while I tried to work. In the evening, it disturbed my rest.
So what was that song, anyway?
It was “Broadway, Here I Come!” from the second season of SMASH.
I had the wrong idea about it, though. I thought it was an either/or song: either the singer is about to become a star on Broadway or jump from a ledge to his/her death. To me, it tracked both ways. The outcome is uncertain.
But when I looked up the musical HIT LIST — it is the big song in HIT LIST — I found out that the singer is quite definitely thinking about suicide.
This was a little depressing, as it is such a spirited song. It is full of life. A buoyant song about suicide? Apparently so. That melody both floats and falls.
My take on “Broadway, Here I Come!” is that change can feel terrifying, like leaping off a ledge. You realize your dreams and your old life is smashed to smithereens. The dark undertow of the song fits the pain of change.
It is a good song. So here is a shoutout for Jeremy Jordan, who sings it; Joe Iconis, who wrote it; and the excellent series SMASH, which enabled me to hear it.
Music reaches around reason.
What songs have stayed with you? Do you have any idea why?