Today I heard a busker playing Stand By Me in the style of Ed Sheeran. He sang openly and touchingly, and the melody followed me down the street. The words caught me, and evoked a sense of longing in me, a sense of the joy and pain in that song; the need to have someone who will quell your fear, for whom you will give more of yourself willingly. I felt the song's simplicity in my throat as I caught a sob, and in my chest as I felt the absence of the one whom I love. Standing in a nook in the shops I blinked back to composure.
Music with the sincerity of feeling has always got to me. Hearing the longing of Stand By Me I immediately began to think of the song my wife and I think of as 'our song', which is I'll Stand By You (the Pretenders original - not the other one). It's a song that follows similiar lines, it explores the depths that you can go to in a relationship, and the dark spaces that the union can help you survive. It is a a song about support, trust and ultimately acknowledging personal weakness and trading that for collective strength. It is a song that cries out for the power of love; the stuttering, gasping, snot-ridden pain that fills you in both the moments of euphoria and desperation; and it is a song of defiance and hope.
We as creatures, as individuals stumble through life, with perfection an ideal that taunts us like a spectre. With each step we realise our fragility, and come to know that our future lies both with us and as a crutch. We become truly ourselves when we give more of ourselves - trite perhaps, but a truth I come more and more to hold dear. With a chord and a note, that song, born of the industrial struggle of Detroit and the Motown era, spoke of the hope that we find in each other even in our darkest hours; our togetherness and our capacity together to stand in the face of despair.