While stuck in traffic, “Accidents Will Happen” popped up on my iPod via shuffle. I’m sure I’ve heard this song several thousand times, but not in quite a while. By rule, I am never in a good mood in the morning, but this immediately brightened my commute.
I got that warm feeling you get when you listen to something again for the first time since forever, and you remember how great it is. I thought about how it is exactly the right length. How haunting the outro is. How fantastic the lyrics are; not as overtly clever as in some of Mr. Costello’s songs, but simple and subtle in the best possible way. Lines like It’s damage that we do and never know/It’s the words that we don’t say that scare me so.
And I thought about how there was a period when I listened to Armed Forces on a nigh-daily basis. When it was so much a part of my being that, like Jonathem Lethem once said about Talking Heads’ Fear of Music, “I might have wished to wear the album…in place of my head”. I thought about listening to the whole album start to finish, something I never do anymore with any album in this iPod age.
And as Elvis sang Accidents will happen…, an ambulance came screeching alongside my bus, sirens blaring, lights flashing. It hopped a curb in front of an auto parts store, then squeezed in between a phalanx of parked cars and a truck that completely ignored its pleas to get through.
Real accidents always overshadow metaphorical ones. I hit pause until the drama passed. But when I unpaused the song, it just didn’t feel the same. Sigh.