Music Monday: The Sum of Ten Thousand Love Songs

Teddy Bear on Ice

Do you believe in ghosts?


Consider, for a moment, everything it took to bring you here. Humans have been around for the blink of an eye in the grand scheme of things, right? However, there’s a lot of us, and there’s been a lot of time for that lot of us to make a lot of mistakes…and a lot of mistakes have been made. That’s not counting the times people got it right.

Some people believe that we are trapped in this karmic wheel, destined to meet the same people over and over again as we address past transgressions. But, I’m not so sure. I think, instead, we were born into a story half-told. We came onto the ice and saw the tracks and said, “Perhaps this is the way to go.” So we followed the tracks, chasing our ancestors as we left the paths for those who would come after. Is it so strange then that we fell in love as they did? That we made the same mistakes as they did? That we fell prey in the same moments to the same fits of depression, madness and desire?

Perhaps some of those paths led to places darker than others. Perhaps some ended not so well. Perhaps some did not continue. But sometimes, those paths crossed. Two people joined together. Despite their worries about the economy, or food, or health, your ancestors—all of them—survived long enough to keep the story going—to draw the tracks longer and longer. They went through rebellion and revolution just as they went through renaissance and reunion. And then you came along.

You are the result of hundreds, maybe thousands of love stories.

To that end, here’s a song I forgot I overplayed at one point. It’s still as good as the first time I heard it.

Normally, when one hears a love song, the love expressed in the music is that between paramours, but “Here With Me” somehow changes to be applicable when considering other aspects of our confusingly philosophical concept: the love of family, the love between old friends, the chasm between one and one’s higher self. Rather than force the listener into a single emotion, “Here With Me” has the inexplicable power to instead amplify the listener’s emotion—whatever it may be.

Though it opens with an early trip-hop synth-heavy rhythm, the acoustic guitar gently pushes that aside for the first iteration of the iconic chorus, then lets us listen as the two sounds clash together like best friends in a photo booth. After jockeying for position for some time, the synth solo at 2:46 allows a moment of contemplation, and then we launch into the final chorus—the musical equivalent of climbing a mountain and screaming at the top of one’s lungs whilst spontaneously bursting into flames. Which, as many of us surely know, is what love, at times, can feel like.

“Here With Me” is a study of love in its many forms. It’s frustration, contemplation, the unspoken and the unrequited. It’s hope, desire, the seemingly unbearable wait for a text message and the curious though odd joy of one’s name on a piece of mail in a familiar script no typewriter can produce. It’s the good, the bad and the ugly of love on a canvas of the tracks we leave on ice, and to listen to this song is to look back and feel all that all over again.

Though it may be set to a backdrop of war and death and destruction, the story of the human species is a love story, of which you, you are writing the latest chapter.

Let’s make it a good one.

“If music be the food of love, play on.”

~ William Shakespeare

Photo: Ryosuke Yagi/Flickr