It has been said, Thomas Wolfe is credited with the original quote, that “You Can’t Go Home Again.” I have tried to go home again and failed miserably. I have driven the streets that I used to wander in my childhood with friends whose names are forever lost. I have driven by buildings that I used to call home and found dilapidated old structures or new buildings where my home used to be, and I have even found empty lots that were supposed to be full of happy memories.
I went to a school reunion a few years back and it was really awkward trying to converse with these people who I spent five days a week with on school buses and in our classrooms. People that I used to hang out with, play the guitar with, go to dances and movies with, there were a few members of the opposite sex that lived within my circle of life. But it wasn’t the same. These people had gotten old, where were my childhood friends? These people had changed, the friend that jammed with me was now an alcoholic who hadn’t played the guitar after our halcyon days of learning to play “Get Back”. The friend that introduced me to marijuana would barely say hello to me. The people that I thought I would meet at the reunion had faded away, they were only memories tied to that time and place. Having once shared a few high school classes is not enough to sustain a lifelong relationship.
There are some good reads that explore this concept of never being able to go home. I just finished re-reading one that evoked good memories from an earlier age, Summer of ’42 by Herman Raucher. I read it the first time when I was a young man coming of age in the small home town that I previously visited, it resonated with me at that time because of the teenage emotions it evoked as I read it back then. This time it provoked the emotions of being an adult who can never go home again.
I couldn’t go back home again because it didn’t exist except in my nostalgic memories. Nostalgic memories are often tied to music, much the same as my memory of playing tunes on my first guitar. In fact, there is a song from that era that captures a lot of the sentiments that I am searching out here, it was by The Moody Blues on their album Every Good Boy Deserves A Favor, the song was titled “You Can Never Go Home” and there is a new song that I have been introduced to that further explores this concept, it is “Better Days” by Chris Collins and produced by Discrete.
Collins has drawn upon his memories of better days in his life, at only eleven-years-old, he appeared in the finals of Sweden’s televised Talang, as well as landing third place in Eurovision Young Dancers which saw him surpass 60 million viewers worldwide and Discrete who grew up in a creative household and discovered music production at thirteen. Together Collins and Discrete crafted a song that speaks to that longing of wanting to go home again. These two musicians have gifted our ears with “Better Days”, a sentiment that I am sure we all long for in these troubling times.
A sample of the lyrics:
Nothing is like yesterday
Between us two
I wish I could stay away
But I’ll keep dreaming of better days
Better days with you
Discrete’s production supports singer Chris Collins through the longing in “Better Days”. Longing over a relationship that has seen better days. We find Collins yearning over a love lost and Discrete adds synths that match those words to evoke memories of yesteryear. Together they revisit the eighties and lost love through their music. Music that builds visions of disco dance floors with synth effects, analog pads and drums that Collins and Discrete use with a steady hold on today despite the push and pull of nostalgia evoked in both the lyrics and the music that backs it up.
Better Days is a song that required many listens for me to totally grasp the essence of the emotions expressed in it. I would encourage you to do likewise and see what memories it pulls up for you.
S T R E A M (Single)
D I S C O V E R (Discrete)
D I S C O V E R (Chris Collins)