Wednesday, September 11, 2013

You Can Only Take So Much

Music soothes grief. Music heals pain. Music strengthens the weak. Music gives us resolve to carry on.

On an anniversary I wish didn't exist, it's hard not to revisit my soundtrack to the aftermath that helped me carry on in the days, weeks, months, and now years that would come. U2 released All That You Can't Leave Behind in 2000, but the album was eerily prescient. Beautiful Day. Stuck In A Moment You Can't Get Of. Walk On. Peace On Earth. New York. Grace. Thematically and contextually spot on. Weird. Really. Just weird.

The Irish band was an American fixture in the many months that would follow as we tried to come to terms with the new world. Super Bowl XXXVI was in many ways the focal point of the anxiety, fear, patriotism, and hope that so many of us were feeling at the time. The clouds of war were building and the very real threat inherent in a huge public gathering scared us out of our wits.  In an isolated society we share so few common experiences, but what is more American than the grandiose spectacle of the big game and its typically bloated halftime show? The bombastic U2 was a perfect pick and nailed it. It's hard to get through MLK and Where The Streets Have No Name with a dry eye while victim names were cascaded peacefully and respectfully behind the band. Stunning.

Beautiful Day was the iconic hit from the album and indeed September 11, 2011, was ironically a beautiful day is most of the country. But Walk On is the one that sticks for me.

"And I know it aches | And your heart, it breaks | You can only take so much ... Leave it behind | You've got to leave it behind ... All that you hate."

Walk on.

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