I started writing this post on December 14th and it has seen a lot of versions. It's been much harder to write than I initially thought it would, but what the hell. Anyway, when I round up the best of the year, I'm fond of including a song or two that didn't have the good fortune of being released during the year but still contributed heavily to my personal soundtrack. This year, that award belongs to a single song and that song is Kim Wilde's "It's Here." While released 20 years ago, I simply can't imagine 2010 without this song. It was a huge part of my summer soundtrack and as the year has come to a close, the lyrics have taken on even more meaning. The fact that it is a classic pop song with a killer hook and fantastic bridge is just icing on the cake.
As I wrote earlier this year, Kim Wilde is terribly uneven. However, when she's good, she's fantastic. How can you resist that soaring chorus? That keyboard work is a relic of the late 80s and early 90s but somehow still sounds fresh. It's the music that drew me in on this song but what kept me and has turned it into 2010's retro song of the year are the lyrics. Like most good pop songs, the lyrics seem almost throwaway but the more I listened to them, the more they seemed oddly appropriate. Let's just take the first verse and chorus:
I've been looking all around the world
To see what I could find
Just a lot of broken promises
And people left behind
Oh and the - pain of being lonely
Is what everybody fears
Yeah, it took a lot of time for me to realize
It's here, looking me in the eye
It's here, here all the time
It's here, I've always tried to find a way to go
But now I know
I'm fond of telling the story about how a college friend of mine, after a bad breakup, was talking to me and said "a pop song shouldn't know how I feel!" My response to her was that if it doesn't, what's the point? "It's Here" really makes that point well for how 2010 has played out. In many ways, it was a watershed year in which a lot of the work I've been doing in life came to fruition, so much so that it could be the theme song for the year.
And it's funny because truthfully, I almost lost this song as soon as I gained it. Really though, it was too good to lose and in the end far, far to relevant to my life up to this point. Longtime readers will know how the lyric "the pain of being lonely is what everybody fears" resonates with me. As a Gemini and an Enneagram 4, that's kind of just how the ball bounces for me. Even surrounded by people, I can still feel lonely, sometimes painfully so. But what Kim Wilde and this year has taught me is that it will never go away, not until I realize that what I'm really looking for is a better, more honest relationship with myself.
She says it so clearly - "it's here/looking me in the eye/it's here/here all the time." It's kind of like when Dorothy Gale says "if I ever go looking for my heart's desire again, I won't look any further than my own backyard, because if it isn't there, I never really lost it to begin with." I suppose this is pretty par for the course for someone in their late 30s. I think when you start bumping up against 40 things change for you, whether you like it or not.
If you haven't figured it out, I have taken the advice of this song to heart. Even before I heard the song at about mid-year, I was already trying to cultivate a better relationship with all the versions of me - the scared kid, the lonely college student, the hopelessly nerdy adult, the ubercompetent pharmacist, the father and husband that feels like he's flying blind most of the time. My Christmas gift to myself this year is to listen to and take better care of all the parts of me. I've already worked hard on it and only when both sides of the Gemini are in balance can there be a little bit of calm.
Who knows, maybe there will never be complete calm - would life be boring if I stopped thinking about this kind of shit? Probably. But at least we'll have this great Kim Wilde song to remind me of what's important when the going gets tough. (I won't whip out that Billy Ocean song even though it's probably in my iTunes somewhere. Update: Just checked. Yep, it is. And I'm playing it in spite of myself.)
And that is what the retro song of the year is all about, Charlie Brown.