We are both are enthralled, like most teenagers, by all different genres of music, from folk to R&B, from Tupac to Taylor Swift, from piano lessons to ballet performances; we have found connection because of it. Music is something that unites: a universal truth to which we all respond. Loosely inspired by Bob Dylan’s new book published this November, “The Philosophy of Modern Song,” we felt moved in the same way Dylan has. We have decided to, like Dylan, select some of the most meaningful songs to us and dissect the lyrics to relate them to our growth throughout school and our feelings surrounding senior year.
Maddy: “What’d I do with all this faith?”- The Bleachers “I don’t know what to do with this faith, ‘cause ain’t no faith could take your place.” I remember this song being the first song that shuffled from my phone the morning after our senior retreat. I remember the night that preceded it as being filled with intense, abstract emotions. There was a sudden realization that all of this — all of high school — was suddenly coming to an end and that the “lasts,” as we would soon call them, were coming all too quickly. This song and the “faith” that is continually mentioned symbolized for me all the emotions I was feeling that lacked direction — the emotions that lacked any definite resolution. I learned, with this song, acceptance and the realization that every relationship I had made in these years would be irreplaceable. And with that, to not try too hard to replace them: rather, appreciate them for all that they have been. I learned that with these people and these relationships near to me now, I have to take time to be grateful for them.
Maddy: “Dead Sea”- Lumineers “I don’t gamble, but if I did I would bet on us.” Originally written for one of the band member’s wife, this is a love song in its truest form. The song tells the story of when Wesley Schultz, lead singer of the Lumineers, was told by his wife that he was her dead sea. He kept her afloat. During high school, I found this same kind of love platonically with the group of people around me. This song taught me how necessary it is to be able to lean on your friends and how necessary it is for them to be able to lean on you. I learned that in repressing difficult feelings there is only more hatred, more frustration and the feeling that you’re sinking.
Grace: “Drive” – Alan Jackson “Maybe one day they’ll reach back in their file and pull out that old memory and think of me and smile.” My parents raised me on country music, and this song has always been my anthem. I remember sitting on my dad’s knee and helping him drive the boat like it was yesterday; Alan Jackson encapsulated that liberating feeling when he sings in the song, “A young girl, two hands on the wheel, I can’t replace the way it made me feel.” I haven’t always agreed with the idea that time flies because some periods of my life have been so monotonously slow that I could feel the tick of each second passing by, but other times years have flown by without the blink of an eye. I have promised myself to keep those “old memor[ies]” close to my heart, “to think of [them] and smile,” because each stage of your life is beautiful. Each memory of your life makes up who you are, and I can never forget the first time I felt like I could fly.
Grace: “Wildflowers” – Tom Petty “You belong somewhere you feel free.” Throughout my childhood, I always desired to be older, to gain the next privilege, to gain the next step toward freedom. I was in fifth grade when my sister was a senior in high school, and when I saw her walking down the halls in cowboy boots and a yellow shirt, I couldn’t help but imagine how it would feel. I craved her freedom, but now that I am teetering on the edge of complete independence it’s scary. Now, it is no longer how much I feel free, but where I will feel free. Tom Petty sings in his song “Wildflowers,” “You belong somewhere you feel free,” and I have been recently contemplating if this next chapter of my life, this next school, this next city will make me feel free. Yet, I know deep down it’s not the place that will make the difference. In order to be free, you have to be who you truly are and not be afraid to stand out — a “wildflower” in a field of weeds.
Maddy and Grace: “Back Down South” – Kings of Leon “Go on, take my hand when we see the band, baby’s gonna be a big one.” In the fall of junior year, we attended a Kings of Leon concert together in east Dallas. The tickets were cheap, bought last minute in an act of spontaneity and of our love for the band. The encore included this song and while we had heard it before through car speakers, watching it live felt transcendent. This song felt like home and still does. When we leave, we both know we can revisit this song and feel connected to the place and the people we come from. Wherever we go for these next four years, we know we can always come “back down South,” and we can always find each other through the songs we have shared.