Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Tuesday Tune: "Lullaby" by Sia

This has been a sad week for the world.  Death chips away at our lives in small increments on a daily basis, but when we're struck with the full force of impossible-to-imagine casualties like those from the earthquake and tsunami in Japan (or the mudslides in Colombia, or the earthquake in Haiti, or the floods in Pakistan), we tend to sink into a collective melancholy.  Death becomes a remote, abstract concept--is there anyone who can fully wrap their brain around the idea of loss when they hear on the news, "With the death toll expected to ultimately reach the tens of thousands..."?

On a personal level, I was hit with the sad news last week of the sudden death of a childhood friend.  I can't grieve for an entire nation in any tangible way--sadness multiplied by 10,000 would paralyze any of us into catatonia--but I can mourn for one man, a singular soul who, though I hadn't seen him in nearly 30 years, continues to resonate in my life in a meaningful way.

This is a long way of saying that Sia's "Lullaby" from her 2008 album Some People Have Real Problems is one of the saddest beautiful songs on my current playlist.  I'd originally intended to highlight another song from Sia for this week's Tuesday Tune ("The Girl You Lost to Cocaine") and maybe someday I'll get to that track, but "Lullaby" has been popping up on my iPod with unusual frequency this week, almost as if it was demanding to be heard.

Sia may not appeal to everyone's taste--she slurs a lot of her lyrics and her varied style can often ride the borders of Wackyland--but it's hard to deny the emotional power of "Lullaby."  It's the current go-to tearjerker tune--Hollywood has hijacked it for the trailer to the movie Hereafter and in the season finale of Showtime's The Big C--and it's tailor-made for moments of manipulated sentimentality.  But before it gets too corrupted by another music-video montage in the wake of a pop star's death or the soundtrack for a morning-news show's "natural disaster retrospective," I would like to own the song for five minutes of my personal grief.
send a wish upon a star
do the work and you’ll go far
send a wish upon a star
make a map and there you are

send a hope upon a wave
a dying wish before the grave
send a hope upon a wave
for all the souls you failed to save

and you stood tall
now you will fall
don’t break the spell
of a life spent trying to do well

Here's an unofficial, bare-bones video from YouTube:

If you'd like to buy "Lullaby" from Amazon, CLICK HERE.

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