Posted from bed

Every morning, my CD alarm clock just starts spouting off:

Just in time
You found me just in time
Before you came,
my time was running low,
I was lost,
the losing dice were tossed,
my bridges overcrossed,
nowhere to go.
Now you’re here
and I know where I’m going.
No more doubt or fear.
I found my way.
So let’s live today, anyway
Change me!
Change me once again…
and lucky day.

I suppose I could Google the words, but I LIKE not knowing exactly how the song ends. I’m wondering: is this too intense a song to wake up to every day? It definitely plays on the “time” motif well, but is it useful to think that “time is running low,” that “the losing dice were tossed,” each and every morning? I really like the “anyway.” It could be just another carpe diem sentiment, but the “anyway” makes it casual, suggests that “living today” is just an (arbitrary) choice, not a command or a need… am I reading this right?

I realize as I listen this morning that Nina Simone albums represent the present for me, they are the characteristic new CD in the soundtrack of my life. By the present I am including last summer (already separated from me by some serious landmarks), when I bought her Blues album in Boone, NC. She is the sound of now (if now means this academic year). So by listening to her, am I truly “living today,” prolonging the moment, or am I dangerously close to creating an enormous chain of yesterdays?

Can a classical pianist admit that late Brahms Intermezzi would not be his first choice on his CD alarm clock? I could bore you and tell you that Nina went to Juilliard, was classically trained … if I ever have that conversation again (“they were classically trained, you know” speaking of some harmonica trio) at a reception you will know, because you will read in the paper that I murdered some nice person with a (probably plastic) fork. But if you don’t know this track, you should listen. It is harmonically thrilling, and you know that essay by Charles Rosen where he says that Schubert achieves much of his effect by gradually expanding the melodic range, by in effect making each note count, making each new note a discovery? Well maybe Nina read it cause towards the end while the piano is buzzing around doing the most thrilling kinds of suspensions and dissonances and figurations, she’s sticking to that tonic E-flat and its lower neighbor D like a fly on flypaper. She holds to her guns but then climbs one note, then another, and of course the climactic new notes are on “Change me! Change me!” which she sings twice like a cry of the heart. Hardly any notes and tons of heart.

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  1. Alexandros
    Posted April 27, 2005 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    The past is a narrative of our life so far, in our heads. The future is also an illusion. There is no choice but to “live” today.
    That is not to say living in a narrative is at all unpleasant.
    At the risk of blowing my cover I would recommend the narrative of “Memoires d’Hadrien” by Margueritte Yourcenar.

    This is my opening salvo.
    Nice to be back in contact.

  2. Viktorov
    Posted July 12, 2005 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    I am also obsessed with this song, I assume that you are listening to the liveversion. I wouldnt recommend you to change wakeuptune.

  3. Juza Esfahan
    Posted August 3, 2006 at 4:01 am | Permalink

    that song.
    I would like to work on a guitar arrangement of it, and sing it in Italian, my native language.
    Do you think you help me with the chord transcription?
    Alfredo, Trieste, Italy.

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