I don’t have a favourite song. I know everybody says that, but I really don’t. I have a collection of songs that have always meant a lot to me over the years, there are certain songs I dance most to and songs that relax me. There are songs that pull me back in to my memories and songs that make me think about the future. There are new songs in the charts that I can’t stop listening to and old songs that I rediscover every once in a while. There are songs I grew up with and songs I found purely by accident. Actually, I think my music taste is made up from just a large collection of my ‘favourite songs’ – but then, isn’t everyone’s?
So…I’ll go for a song that I love at the moment.
How to Save a Life by The Fray. Like REM’s Everybody Hurts people think this is one of those pointlessly depressing songs. Well, if you think that then it means you’ve never needed a song like this – and you should think yourself lucky for that. The truth is that this song actually contains a lot of hope. If you’ve even seen the video you’ll know it goes through some of the steps of experiencing and recovering from loss, depression, sorrow, guilt etc. It’s a comfort, really, almost a sort of ribbon that ties together those lost in themselves and those who feel left behind. If you’ve ever lost someone close you’ll know that no matter what the circumstances of that loss, you feel a tremendous weight of guilt. This is one of, if not the only (mainstream) songs I know of that addresses that feeling. There are plenty of songs for those still clinging on, but this track is a beautiful and real apology for those who feel like they didn’t reach their hand out further enough.
I know a lot of people think that listening to ‘sad songs’ when you’re going through something traumatic and hurtful will only hinder the process of recovery and drag you down further, but that’s not the case at all. These so called ‘sad songs’ are often the ones that bring us the most release. The words can push things in to your mind that you’ve shoved to the back for perhaps longer than necessary, forcing you to feel what you obviously need to feel.
How to Save a Life is real, honest and moving. It works for people in different ways, as music generally does, but for me it’s a reminder that I’m not in this alone, because no matter how we acquired our demons, we fight them off the same.