There are those songs that are immediately rejuvenating. I suspect we all have them, those tracks that are perhaps somewhat designed to have that effect (uplifting lyrics, soaring melodies, music that builds and builds), but, more importantly, hold with them some beneficial added history. They were there at exactly the right time, the message, the sound, and everything hitting in the right way, like tumblers in a lock falling into proper place. Maybe the sweet spot was hit even more cleanly because the accumulated history of prior listens had finally accumulated to the point that the song shifted from casual favorite to beloved old friend at the precise moment of the fated listen. Though I’ll readily concede my memory may be very faulty, I recall having the blissful convergence of sensations happen with the Guadalcanal Diary song “Litany (Life Goes On).” I was barreling down a Wisconsin highway in an oversized car at the time. I presume there may have been some abuse of the gas pedal at the time, although I officially admit nothing.
The Georgia band’s final studio album, Flip-Flop, arrived in the spring of my freshman year of college, so inevitably that became the record that stirred the most devotion in me. I’d return to that one repeatedly during my tenure, venturing to the earlier offerings of their catalog only occasionally and half-heartedly. There were great songs to be found there. I knew that. However, they weren’t my songs. To a large degree, I played those older songs to give myself cover to return to Flip-Flop. I could claim I wasn’t overplaying that one album at the expense of the band’s other music. Sure, that’s “Always Saturday” all cued up on the turntable again, but a few weeks ago I played something off of 2×4. So I’m mixing it up, you see.
In that scenario, it’s pretty likely that the song played from 2×4 was “Litany (Life Goes On).” The sticker on the front of the record even alerted me to its presence. Surely it’s the one I should play. I listened to it and I liked it. It’s probably fair to say that I didn’t really hear it, though, at least not until that day when it came through my car stereo and it all made sense. Now, it’s absolutely a go-to tracks when I need a certain boost, the kind that can only come from a song with lyrics like “Take all your troubles/ Put them in a common file/ Light a fire with reason/ Watch it rise, watch it rise.” What can I say? It’s been that kind of week.
Listen or download –> Guadalcanal Diary, “Litany (Life Goes One)”
(Disclaimer: As far as I can tell, the entire Guadalcanal catalog is out of print as physical items that can be purchased from your favorite local, independently-owned record store in a manner that compensates both the proprietor of said store and the artist. There are digital purchasing options available, but I have only the shakiest belief in that providing compensation to anyone other than Amazon, Apple, the record labels, and any number of other corporate entities. Therefore, this song is shared in this space with the understanding that it is impeding no valuable commerce to individuals or entities that truly deserve dollars for what’s been created. That typed, I will gladly remove the track if asked to do so by any entity or individual with due authority to make such a request.)