There is no song out there that makes me happier than ‘These are Days’ by 10,000 Maniacs. Sung by Natalie Merchant (and only Ms Merchant) there is no other more poignant, perfect song for me.
Back in 1992 ‘These Are Days’ was the background music for one crazy summer. Finally graduating from college in May, breaking off a long-suffering, dying relationship in June, having my first steamy, honest-to-goodness, real summer fling in July and embarking on a new life (in New Jersey of all places) in September. It was, without a doubt, the most perfect summer to be a girl on the verge.
When I got sick in 1998 ‘These are Days’ was my feel-good, make-me-smile video. Natalie dancing on top of the Chrysler building, flirting with the edge and the eagle’s beak. While I didn’t completely understand the rest of the video – the children in the woods, the idea of freedom pleased me to no end.
In 2004 I threw out conventional wedding practices, said to hell with tradition and walked down the aisle to a slow-tempo, piano-backed, serious ‘These Are Days’ sung by my good friend Rebecca Correia. Her voice and Natalie’s lyrics helped me walk past a hundred pairs of eyes and squelch the unreasonable, unfounded fear that I was making a mistake. It was a more upbeat and joyous ‘These Are Days’ to which Kisa and I practically danced our way out of the church.
‘These Are Days’ is on almost every ipod playlist I have ever created. Whether I am practicing yoga, running a 5k, walking 14 miles, cleaning the bathroom, cooking a meal, or weeding the garden, if I have music, I have ‘These Are Days.’ That song is always in there somewhere.
So, why prattle on so long about a seemingly silly song? Because Natalie brought ‘These Are Days’ back at a recent concert last week – performed it live. I cannot tell you how exited I am for the emergence of this slower, more melodic version of the song I love so much. I can only hope I hear it for myself on July 13th.