The Song #5 by Anna Tivel

There are songs that make you want to move. Others that make you want to drive fast, to sit quiet near a window in bad weather, to try to be a better person. Maybe the thing I love the most about songwriting is the way it can instantly transport you to an alternate world, one where you’re allowed to feel the things you struggle with, celebrate them, shake them off, understand them. It just seems like such a holy thing to my godless mind. The closest thing I can relate to what praying might feel like to a deep believer.

This song by my good friend Jon Sunde (J.E. Sunde) kills me every time in the very best ways. It’s methodical and deeply honest and vulnerable as hell. I think it’s such a special thing to be able to speak to your own struggle in a way that leaves space for other people to feel their own. There’s a generosity to this song that blows me away at the same time as it feels intimate and truly personal. I love the way it begins with a conversation and slowly unravels as the speaker lets go of the tightly wound reins and allows himself to enjoy a simple moment of beauty. Maybe it feels extra special to me because I know what great care Jon takes to be brave with his writing and I think this song is very brave in it’s unadorned vulnerability. That’s so hard to do, to let yourself say the real thing vs. creating a song world in which you’re a shinier, hipper person than you actually are.

I don’t care to dance/ you know this I have told you I don’t dance/ but the music and your beauty well they move me so I take you by the hand. But you will have to lead/ the tonic that is mixed up with the gin/ warm within and working on my limbs and as the room begins to spin/ I’m happy to be near you. And you laugh as I stare down at my feet/ holy mother of the humble and the weak/ you gently lift my chin so I can look into your eyes. And you rebuke the bull shit and the lies/ all those people who told me how to be a man/ well I don’t want to follow them any longer/ so twirl me round the floor.

Argh, it’s just so good. All that winding internal rhyme that feels both natural and intricate. It makes me want to stop everything and go write every time I hear it.

Anna Tivel