pop music.

I listen to the radio a lot, driving back and forth from Oakland to Sunnyvale, so I've quickly gotten back up to speed on the music the record companies pay the radio stations to play. A good chunk of it is drivel, but there are a lot of good songs and musicians that happen to be popular: my current favorites are Vanessa Carlton and Michelle Branch (sorry, that last one is hard to read).

And there are a lot of songs that sound alike that make me change the channel, but there comes that fateful day when a song you don't really care for is the best thing available, and you start to actually listen to the lyrics. This happened last week with The Calling's Wherever You Will Go.

    So lately, been wondering
    Who will be there to take my place
    When I'm gone you'll need love to light the shadows on your face
    If a great wave shall fall and fall upon us all
    Then between the sand and stone, could you make it on your own

I understand this a lot better than I did two years ago.

    If I could, then I would,
    I'll go wherever you will go
    Way up high or down low, I'll go wherever you will go

    And maybe, I'll find out
    A way to make it back someday
    To watch you, to guide you, through the darkest of your days
    If a great wave shall fall and fall upon us all
    Then I hope there's someone out there
    Who can bring me back to you

For a long while that bugged me. There's a creepy naivete to the verse, a refusal to accept death and parting that smells vaguely of desperation. I don't believe in that: I think we should fight as long as we can, and go when our time is up, to whatever comes next. The refusal to accept death is a little sad, because you give yourself a lot of anger and stress and then you die anyway.

    Run away with my heart
    Run away with my hope
    Run away with my love

    I know now, just quite how,
    My life and love may still go on
    In your heart, in your mind, I'll stay with you for all of

There's a maturing here, a realization that he has to go, and the only sure way we live on is in the mark we make on the world and the hearts and memories of the people we leave behind.

I liked the song more after that.