People take different roads seeking fulfillment and happiness. Just because they're not on your road doesn't mean they've gotten lost.
– H. Jackson Brown, Jr. (American author)
Or have they? What if they just suck at reading a map or weren’t paying attention at the intersection? I agree with Brown about the fact that we are all seeking fulfillment and happiness but since I’m skeptical of people being more the same than they are different, my concern with the above quote is that based on my experience, some people are willing to go to disturbing lengths to find fulfillment. The end doesn’t always justify the means and this is where life gets tricky.
I must admit I used to think we’re all the same. In my case, “the same” equaled “decent.” This was a long time ago. Now, I think the only thing that truly unites people is that we are all selfish to a certain degree, some more than others and some a lot more than others. I know this is a pessimistic way to look at life but this is what I’ve learned from being too naïve. Don’t get me wrong, good and decent people do exist but if you ever start thinking that it’s safe to assume that we all wish each other nothing but happiness, think again quickly. Chances are you’ve taken the wrong exit to a road so filled with potholes that getting your BMW off it safely might require calling the triple A.
However, every once in a while, I stumble on a track that’s so loaded with optimism that it makes even somebody like me wonder if such a thing as the “wrong exit” even exists. Our track of the week, “We Are One” by In My Coma, is one such song. There’s something so pure and disarming about this track that it doesn’t just challenge your worldview (provided you are a pessimist); it also makes you think back to a more simple time when people seemed trustworthy and what’s more, it makes you remember how good that felt. Once the song finishes, you realize you want that feeling back.
Granted, “We Are One” might sound a bit over-produced to your average indie-rock fan but if you listen closely, you’ll notice how the sleek production doesn’t really take anything away from the song. In fact, it only adds to the track’s value as it brings the strong lead vocal and of course, the lyrics, the very essence of “We Are One,” to the forefront. The song trumpets a clear message to anyone listening: No one is strong alone.
Even if our ship goes under now miles away from solid ground
I’d hold you on my shoulder
All I wanted was a memory
Someone to believe in me
Even when I’m wrong
Here’s what In My Coma’s songwriter Jasper James has to say about the song’s genesis:
When I wrote this song almost two years ago, I had written the melody, hook, and music but struggled to find lyrics to match what I was trying to get across to anyone listening to it. The music had bones, but the oxygen wasn't there. Everything I came up with seemed simple or contrite until my wife, Laura (bassist and backup vocals in the band), told me one day that I was trying too hard and that simplicity is sometimes the best approach. She asked me what people wanted to hear, what they needed to hear. Do they want an escape or do they want comfort? These were all rhetorical questions at the time, but they really got me thinking. With that advice in mind, I sat down at the piano and started to sing the lyrics "we are one" over and over again. At that moment, I realized I had finished the song.
In terms of the music, I appreciate the tightness of the group, the close harmonies on the chorus and the Mike Campbell-flavored guitar solo that kicks in roughly half-way through the track. Having said that, my favorite part of the song is the Beatlesque hook, “And they will see it when we shine.” With its eastern-influenced melody, it’s simply irresistible and lifts everything around it both lyrically and melodically to a whole new dimension. This hook would have fitted quite nicely on the fab four’s 1966 Revolver and given the context of James’ lyrics, it’s a brilliant addition to the track, creating connections to what is most likely pop music’s most celebrated past, reminding us that life is about being one musically speaking as well – nobody exists in a vacuum. Even though In my Coma taps into a myriad of different influences and styles, they integrate these very cleverly into their own sound. As a result, what comes out of your loudspeakers is 100% them, a fact that's evident throughout the track.
Going back to what I was ranting on about in the beginning of this post, perhaps pessimism isn’t the only way to stay safe. It might be enough to be a cautious optimist instead. However, I want to close this week with a joke a friend of mine sent me a while ago, reminding us all about the dangers of optimism:
Three friends had a good friend named Joe and he was, naturally, an eternal optimist. At every bad situation he would always say: ''It could have been worse.''
His friends hated that quality about him, so they came up with a story so horrible that not even Joe could come up with a bright side. So the next day, only two of his friends showed up for a golf date.
Joe asked: ''Where's Gary?''
And one of his friends said: ''Didn't you hear? Yesterday, Gary found his wife in bed with another man, shot them both, and then turned the gun on himself.''
Joe says: ''Well it could have been worse.''
Both his friends said: ''How in hell could it be worse? Your best friend just killed himself!''
Joe says: ''If it had happened two days ago, I would be dead now!"
Yup, caution pays.
Check out the official music video of “We Are One.” It’s a good one.
Track Sponsor Of The Month: Effigy by The Impersonators
“Effigy” describes that moment in all our lives, when we realize that we‘ve grown tired of protecting our ego, that moment when we are done worrying about how we appear to others. Rather than wanting to be cool or important, we want to be happy and discover our true identity. And the best way to achieve this is to kill our ego.
You can learn more about In My Coma here:
About the curator - Tommi Tikka
Tom Tikka is a linguist, poet, professional songwriter, recording artist and a music aficionado. He started playing guitar when he was four and writing songs when he was six. Consequently, he doesn't remember a time when he wasn't playing or writing. It's fair to say, music and lyrics are not just something he loves to engage himself in; to him, they are a way of life.