Just as there are songs like Prodigy’s “Firestarter” and Wall of Voodoo’s “Ring of Fire” that I can’t listen to while biking because they make me ride punkass angry almost to the point of where I’m looking for a fight, there are also songs that calm me without fail. The late and great Eva Cassidy’s version of “Over The Rainbow” is one of them. I swear my hair could be on fire simultaneously while some fudgepot in an SUV is trying to shoot me AND run me over and if Eva’s singing into my ear, it’s nothing but all good: have a nice day, nothing Supercuts can’t clean up — and by the way Turner’s is having a special on hollow points this week. Peace.
Not only that but I can listen to it over and over and over and over and overover and I did just that this morning pushing the back button on my iPod four or five times on the way in to work because I was a little bit funked up and Eva said easy there big fella, come over here and put your head on my shoulder and let me tell you where I’ve been and what I know.
In addition to the five or six times in a row today, Eva has soothed my savage beastie on hundreds of other occasions and without fail each time I listen to the first notes sung in that fragile voice of hers I always get chills and semi choked-up. It’s so pure and so magic. Then later omes the anticipation of the crescendo’ing refrain she builds to near the end in getting to :
“…way above the chimney tops,
That’s where… you’ll… find… Meeeeee!
Somewhere over the rainbow,
skies are blue…”
It’s that elongated powerful coloratura’d Meeeee! that flows into the next line that always gets my eyes watering. It’s the happiest and saddest sound in the history of song. It’s a plaintive wail and a triumphant cheer. And for the first time in all the brazillion times I’ve cherished her hitting that note, I was on 4th Street crossing Vermont and finally heard what she’s been trying to tell me all those times. She’s saying she got there. That she found it. That she’s seen what it was like over the rainbow and it’s awesome but it’s also far away and removed and it’s next to impossible to come back to what you know and love once you get there so don’t be in such a hurry to escape that you fail to appreciate what you have.
God Bless Eva Cassidy.