When you’re somebody who likes to show people music, there’s nothing more frustrating than not being able to choose the version of a song that you like best. Sometimes I really like the acoustic, original and remix version of a song, but I’m probably not going to be able to hold an audience in my car for 3 separate songs while I annoyingly point out small difference between them all. There are songs among my collection that have 8 different versions: the B-side, the cover by 3 other artists, the ‘in studio’ sneak peek, the ‘unreleased’ cut. I love them all for different reasons and sometimes when I’m picking my Music Monday song it takes me an entire day of playing them all before I can make my choice.
That’s a word we use all the time without really thinking of the meaning behind it. We make hundreds of them every day. What to wear, what route to drive to work, what to eat for lunch, what show to binge watch on netflix this week, what time to go to bed, what music to listen to. So many tiny little decisions that make up our days are made without ever stopping to think of how lucky we are to get to make them. It’s Remembrance Day today, and it got me thinking that when my grandfather was my age, he was in a post-war Europe after spending 4 years as a gunner for the army artillery. He had 4 pieces of buckshot permanently lodged in his butt from someone being shot in the head next to him and was spending the last few years of his service driving around Europe from country to country, returning stolen goods like cars, art and jewelry to their owners that had been taken by the germans. In contrast, today I spent a few hours playing with cute 4 year old kids, made some killer mexican food, went to the gym and then lamented for 30 minutes over which version of a song to write about for a blog.
I’m not trying to sound obtuse by pointing out the huge gap in the parallel between the life of my grandfather and myself. My point today is that he did all that stuff because he wanted to make the world a better place. Because even though he never agreed with war, he saw some way he thought he could help with and make a difference. He did this so that maybe one day people wouldn’t have to think about war in their daily life, and people like his own granddaughter could spend her Monday eating and writing whatever she wanted to instead of trying to not get killed.
It’s easy to forget how incredible fortunate we are every day to be able to go about our days in whatever way we want to. I’m so lucky to do what I love every day, and to be able to share it with others. This week I want to share 3 versions of a song that fit perfectly with this theme. The song is called ‘Free’ and it’s by a group called Rudimental. They’re a british quartet that usually produce music in the electronic dance category, but they particularly shine with this song. The first version is the original and its vocals are performed by the lovely Emeli Sande featured in an incredible video to go along with it that seriously reminded me what an amazing place we live in. The second version is the in-studio stripped down version and it features a singer called Anna Marie performing alongside. While the original is powerful and danceable, this version showcases the raw message of the song. And finally, the 3rd version is also a live version that features something pretty special, and her name is Becky Hill. She’s got a crazy sandpaper voice that really makes the song her own, which I love.
In todays complaint-driven society it’s easy to fall victim to constantly bitching about your life, your friends, your country. But today is a fine day to step back from that and be thankful that you’re alive and you live in a place where your friends aren’t getting their heads blown off everyday. So hit play and listen to this song tell you remind you how lucky you are too when they sing ‘trying to find my way someway, but at least I am free, oh I am free’. Give all 3 a listen. But no matter which one you decide you like best, I hope you feel lucky today to have that choice at all.
“Maybe something’s wrong with me, but whoa, at least I am free, oh, oh, I am free…….”