New Amsterdam

Recently I wrote, in a post on Fleetwood Mac’s “Second Hand News,” about my record-playing parties at my parents’ home where I’d often play only one song from a record, take it off, put on another, and so on.

A more modern take on that practice is to buy only one track from an album, and I’ve done that a lot. I remember our oldest lad said to me many years ago when iTunes was first a big thing; the advantage was I could buy the one good song from an album if that were the only piece I liked. I guess I’ve followed that advice for years.

“New Amsterdam” is a song by The Love Language, an indie group from North Carolina, USA. It comes from their 2018 album Baby Grand and, you guessed it, it’s the only song of theirs I own.

In a June 2018 interview with Under the Radar magazine, bandleader Stuart McLamb says, “‘New Amsterdam’ is ultimately about being stuck in a rut but having such a strong desire to break out of it, whether it’s a town you’ve lived in too long and need a change of scenery, or an on-again, off-again relationship. One of the lyrics was originally ‘wish I could forget everything,’ then a friend suggested I change it to ‘forgive’ and that pretty much changed the whole song for me in a great way.”

I am pretty sure I would have heard it on KEXP Seattle, as they featured it as their Song of the Day in July 2018. (Interestingly, they use the above quote from McLamb, though without attribution to the magazine.) The song is one of many on the playlist I use while on the indoor bike trainer and, serendipitously, it played today near the end of my ride.

Today I was reading from a book, Writing The Life Poetic, by Portland, Oregon, USA resident, author and strategic marketer Sage Cohen. It was a gift to a friend marking a milestone quite a few years ago, and the friend mysteriously returned to me, adding to my inscription, three years ago. The book is an engaging read, and I gladly found some pieces I would like to explore some more. One chapter talked about repetition, which made me think of the one-word repeat in the chorus of the poetry in “New Amsterdam.”

Optimistically, I like to think the last line of the song (“Come over this evening”) is an invitation, calling in a different path for the relationship sung about, and that the same passion the singer put into the music will be rewarded by better times in the connection with his love.

Likewise, as we mark one year since a world pandemic declaration, I’m starting to feel optimistic about receiving the miraculous vaccine soon and, maybe sometime this year, returning to activities previously taken for granted. It’s a lesson that anything good and essential in our lives is not to be simply presumed as ours indefinitely.

Now you know a little about why this is my song of the day for today. Thanks for joining me here, and please enjoy.

Here’s the kaleidoscopically-treated official music video for the song from the publishing label Merge Records’ YouTube channel:

Full, unofficial lyrics are available courtesy of Lyrics.com.

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