You know me, I love a good song. Music is so great in the way that it speaks and communicates with us in a song that it’s almost therapeutic. In fact, many people have written and spoken about the wonders of music and how a song can do so much. Don’t worry, though, this isn’t going to be one of those posts. Not really. This one is just about a song…a very particular song.
No, it’s not about Scream by ZOEGirl. I’ve covered that one already, telling you about how we sometimes feel we have to bleed to be seen or scream to be heard. It’s not that one. This song comes from the great Philippa Hanna, who makes the list of favourite singers for me.
So without further ado (or adon’t – no, I can’t help myself) here is the song!
It’s Just A Song
Seriously, It’s Just A Song is the name of the track. On Philippa’s album Through the Woods (above), it’s one of the final few tracks, but it’s one of those that resonated with me. Now, given that it’s a love song, you wouldn’t necessarily associate it with the things I’d listen to. Believe it or not, though, I can be quite the romantic. Honest. Don’t look at me like that…
The song itself is absolutely lovely, though! A nice, gentle ballad to start us off as Philippa reminisces about the time spent with a former beau on a beach, drinking jasmine tea. She goes as far as to call it a perfect day. Sitting on the beach with her beau, with the sun coming out for a moment to light up his face through the rain…it does sound perfect.
Then the reality settles back in. “Pull of gravity, back to reality now. Just a memory, locked inside of me, safe and sound.” Like a tidal wave, it’s come crashing back over us and suddenly we remember that it’s a memory, no more than that.
And then…the chorus. Hauntingly beautiful, with words that hit home those truths.
“It’s just a song but it makes me feel warm every time I hear it. ‘Cos each time it plays, I can still see your face in my mind. From that opening bar, every chord, every part plays a bitter yet sweet déja vu. It’s just a song but it makes me feel closer to you.”
Who Is It About?
Truth be told, despite digging through the internet to find answers, I don’t know what this song is about. At first glance, it looks like your typical boyfriend-girlfriend breakup story. Guy meets girl, they fall in love, then they break up and we have to put the heart back together afterwards. Really, though, it might not be about that. For all we know, the boyfriend didn’t leave, he might have died somehow. Quite simply, we don’t know. However, there are three important truths that we can take from this, truths that can be applied to the world of mental health.
- It might be “just a song” but sometimes the small things can have the biggest impact.
- We don’t know what people are going through in their private struggles.
- Wait and see!!
So, when you look at those three points, the identity of the person she is singing about becomes relevant yet irrelevant at the same time. To get to a point of understanding those three points (and yes, I know the third one is unrevealed), we don’t really need to know who she’s singing about. The person is important, there is no doubt about that, but we do not need to know his identity.
Let’s look, then, at those points.
1. It Might Be “Just A Song”
How many times have you heard people say “oh it’s just a bump in the road” or “it’s just a bad day, it’ll pass”. Similarly, the song referred to on the radio is “just a song”, yet it can have a far bigger effect than others might give it credit for. It doesn’t matter how significant or insignificant it might seem to someone else, it matters to us. It’s an integral part of our struggle. Naturally, that means it has an effect on us.
So we’re affected by it. And that’s OK. We’re allowed to be. Whether it’s a song, a place we used to visit with someone of importance, a place or object that holds memories for us, we’re allowed to be affected. It’s part of our struggle, part of what we are going through. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. It’s up to us to work through it, even when it feels like “I hear that song again and I’m back to square one again.”
2. People’s Private Struggles
We don’t know who Philippa is singing about, do we? We assume it’s a boyfriend who has broken up with her, but the truth is we don’t know. As I mentioned earlier, it might not be a break up, but a bereavement. We assume it’s a boyfriend, but it might just be a friend. The point is that it doesn’t really matter who it is, not to us. Why? Because sometimes we will always be missing a piece of the puzzle.
Whether we have the answers to our questions or not, others are struggling. That doesn’t mean we need to know, nor does it mean we cannot help them without knowing. We can help them and support them without knowing everything, but it’s important to remember that sometimes we won’t know everything, that we might not know what’s going on. Not fully. And that’s OK.
3. The Surprise Point
My last point that I took from this song is a reminder that I believe is the most important one. It’s taken directly from the bridge of the song:
Oh I know that there’s life after this, and I know I’m not broken, but sometimes I wonder…
Whatever struggles we are going through, be it depression or anxiety, breakup or bereavement or something else entirely, we still remember that truth. We know that there’s life after the event. We know we’re not broken. Sometimes, though, it’s difficult to hold onto that thought and we might wonder whether or not we are broken, whether there is life after this.
It’s easy for our perceptions to get skewed.
It’s amazing how I’ve managed to get all of these meanings from a track on an album. After all…
…it’s just a song…
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