Geez, you guys. This weekend was freaking rough.
I went to bed on Friday night ruminating on some very personal losses that two of my friends had experienced that day, and although neither incident affected me personally, they were jarring, all the same.
When I awoke on Saturday, I was forced to contemplate why anyone would hate a 22 year-old former contestant from The Voice so much that they felt she needed to die, and I was left without answers. Christina Grimmie’s death did not affect me personally, but as a music writer and a member of the concert going community, I found it deeply disturbing, all the same.
By the time I got up on Sunday morning, the internet was already awash with the news of the terrible events in Orlando, Florida – a senseless, unspeakable tragedy; but not an unthinkable one, because the formula is has grown sadly familiar. That morning, I talked with my best friend, who as a Virginia Tech alumnus, had hoped that her alma mater would never have to relinquish the record for “deadliest mass shooting.” And all I could hear in my head that morning was Mary Lambert’s plaintive refrain in Macklemore’s “Same Love,” now imbued with a heartbreaking new meaning: “Not crying on Sundays, Not crying on Sundays, Not crying on Sundays…”
The deaths of 50 people on the other side of the country did not affect me personally… except it did. It affects all of us.
In this atmosphere, it’s difficult to pick an appropriate song for one’s tongue-in-cheek Slow Jams blog. Perhaps it would’ve been wisest to avoid the attempt. But ultimately I settled on the this song from Canadian rocker Bruce Cockburn.
Written at the height of the Cold War, “Lovers in a Dangerous Time” is ostensibly a song about what a bummer it is to fall in love when you could die at any moment a global thermonuclear holocaust. In a broader sense, though, I think it’s about hanging onto your ideals even at the bleakest of moments.
“Nothing worth having comes without some kind of fight / Got to kick at the darkness til it bleeds daylight.”
As a child, my parents used to listen to Bruce Cockburn whenever we went on roadtrips. Not long after my dad passed away, I rediscovered this album while driving to a wedding in Central Oregon. I’ve always loved this song, but as I hurtled over those deserted roads, the temporary triumph of love (my friend’s wedding) over a world filled with loss endowed those lyrics with a new symbolism, for me.
These are grim days. But I think Cockburn is right. Sometimes you just have to keep kicking at the darkness. Eventually it’ll give way.
Until then, you can enjoy how insanely dated that music video is.