Songs that wreck me: Best Days

“Best Days” by Alessia Cara hit me in that twenty-something, good ol’ days way where you feel too old to be young but too young to be old. Like the song goes, “you live and then you die, but the hardest pill to swallow is the meantime.”

Official video for “Best Days” by Alessia Cara

Here I am, stuck in the meantime. Between living and dying, temporally speaking. I have to fill up all that space with something. I was born, I grew older, someday I’ll die–but what comes between point A and point B?

Best Days is about the fear that all your best days are behind you. The way in your memories, ten year-old you has energy to run over the hills for miles. The way your childhood friends are your shared historians; nobody knows you so well as the people you were friends with as a kid. The way as you grow older you and your friends drift apart.

My glory days are behind me, if I ever had them, but the future dwindles as a slow decline so by comparison the past burns glorious. (welcome to existential depression)

Real quick note: I like listening to “sad” songs not because they make me feel sad. They make me feel wonder at the world, and awe at the shared emotions in all of us.

Part 2: Lyrics (these are some real good lyrics)

So much harder to be honest
With yourself at 20-something
Wish I knew what I’m becoming
And felt the ground while I was on it

Hoping, waiting on a moment
Not knowing if it’s coming or it’s going, mhm

What if my best days are the days I’ve left behind?
And what if the rest stays the same for all my life?
I’m running with my eyes closed, so it goes
You live and then you die
But the hardest pill to swallow is the meantime
Are the best days just the ones that we survive?

Ooh-ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh (ah, ah)
Ooh-ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh

If I had known to feel the fire (fire)
I would’ve thrown my arms up higher (higher)
Would’ve held on a little tighter
‘Cause you don’t know a thing you’ll miss ’til it’s behind you, mhm

What if my best days are the days I’ve left behind?
And what if the rest stays the same for all my life?
I’m running with my eyes closed, so it goes
You live and then you die
But the hardest pill to swallow is the meantime
Are the best days just the ones that we survive?

Ooh-ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh (ah, ah)
Ooh-ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh

What if my best days are the days I’ve left behind?
And what if the rest stays the same for all my life?

What if the best days are the days I’ve left behind?
And what if the rest stays the same for all my life?

Ooh-ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh (ah, ah)
Yeah, yeah, ooh-ooh, ooh

Part 3: Thoughts

Apart from the oohs and ahs (which decidedly sound better when sung than read), these lyrics hit deep.

Just ponder them for a moment 🙂

In the final chorus of the video, Alessia turns to smiling. Because if we’re good at one thing, it’s ending on a quiet note of hope.

I love in various live performances how she gets louder/more intense in the final words. It’s like a big release to the build-up of the whole song.

Something I have to remind myself of: Don’t blame your past self for things you couldn’t have known then. Even when you wish you would’ve held tighter to the bright moments, or you’d done something then to make the brightness last.

“‘Cause you don’t know a thing you’ll miss ’til it’s behind you” 😥

If I have one bit of hope to contribute, it comes from the nature of cycles. How nature is full of cycles. The seasons. The moon. Rains and floods and water. Leaves falling off of trees to sprout anew. Maybe, what we lose will come around again, and is never lost for long.

***

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