When you think about it, it’s funny how much meaning a single song can hold for someone. 2-3 minutes, some guitars, maybe a piano, and a handful of words can somehow create a world of importance which can take us back to another moment, person, or feeling when we listen to it.
I can tell you exactly why I like Jack Johnson’s Breakdown so much and it’s not just because I think it sounds nice (it does), because I think the lyrics are clever and meaningful (they are), or because I am generally a huge Jack Johnson fan (I am). Listening to Breakdown for me is like a slice of happiness, a nugget of nostalgia; a window into all of the other times that I’ve heard it.
There’s me at thirteen sitting on the bus on the way to school, wondering if things will ever change, what the world is really like out there. And there’s me at seventeen, overwhelmed with exams and school work and life, thinking I can’t take it any more, crying because I feel like I’m the one having a breakdown. Flash forward a few years and I’m standing in the middle of a field in Devon, crying again, but this time the tears are of happiness because I am watching Jack Johnson perform my favourite song live and it’s such a beautiful and poignant moment.
And then there’s me last week, somewhere on a bus in the middle of Laos, listening to the song once more and realising that I can thread all the times I’ve listened to it together to create the story of me.
I think of all the happy moments and the sad ones, the sleepless nights and the ‘hey don’t you love this song’ days. I think of all the beauty and significance that a song can hold for someone, for me, and I think that this is what a favourite song is all about.