Lucky happenstance brought me to Can’t Find My Way Home, a onetime alltime favorite song of mine.
Onetime? Only because I fell in love with it at first listen, but knocked it down an unmeasured number of positions once I decided that the lyrics didn’t contain the depth of analytical, tortured meaning that my reaction to the music required.
What the fuck is wrong with me?
I mean, seriously. What did I want? Why I can’t find my way home? Who the you is? What the throne represents? Where I am now? I’ve said that I want to get into opera someday, to have that experience of connecting with the power of the music itself, without any understanding of the foreign and exaggerated words; to have a potentially lifechanging experience. Y’know, like Cher in Moonstruck. But I’ve been surrounded by music my whole life. I have been moved by music my whole life. There are countless songs that make me cry if I try to sing along with them – and I always sing along, and find new heartbreakers All the Time. Most of those have lyrical meaning for me, but certainly not all of them. There are definitely a handful of tear-wrenching songs that I do not understand at all. I have no control over or justification for my reaction.
And yet I have still clung to this idea that the words in a song have to have explicit, profound meaning if the song is to be considered a complete success. What more could I possibly ask of Blind Faith than what they gave to us? What more could I possibly ask than Stevie Winwood’s haunting vocals, Ginger Baker’s percussion, Eric Clapton’s guitar (and the other guy – I’m not going to pretend I know who he is). What more could I even ask from the lyrics? The impression and the transmission of loss and longing is inescapable, and the sound of the words is the perfect . Even the content of the lines is perfect. It’s just enough to support the soft whirl of the quartet without forcing a narrative. The song as a piece is the story, and it isn’t a story you read, but one you experience.
I chalk this stupidity of my ways to White Supremacy.
Some White people have a hard time identifying ways in which whiteness hurts their lives. They may have a great understanding of how it fucks over Black people, but other than segregating everyone and hurting our fellow humans, they struggle to pinpoint how whiteness hurts them.
It reduces the joy I get from art.
Among other things, whiteness is about (what it perceives as) logic and critique and rankings and the actual literal (literally). It encourages the rules of religion, but not the surprise of spirituality. Whiteness is materialist, and does not suffer experiences left to their own devices, untranslated into words. I’m good at logic, which is one reason I veer into that whiteness. Another reason is a continuously negative mediated experience of the spiritual growing up.
To be fair, I also connect to lyrics because I don’t play an instrument, so it’s my most intimate bond with the song. I’ll always be a lyrics junkie, but I really have no excuse here. Please, welcome home to one of the greatest rock songs ever. And leave your body and mind alone. Haven’t we had enough of them, already?