Between a damn-near 70 degree day followed by a hail/snow storm over the weekend, me and everyone else are yearning for warmer days to stick around. So in order to *will* more of these days into existence, I’m channeling some feminine witchy energy into two takes on a classic muse: Spring and all her glory.
We’re kicking things off with a quintessential song for the sad saps from Carly Simon’s 1981 release Torch, an album dedicated to (mostly cover) songs about unrequited love or rejection.
“Spring is Here” has been in my head since it made its way into the opening scene of And Just Like That… episode 7 “Sex and the Window.” Carrie writes on her laptop in front of her apartment window as the seasons change, and I find myself doing the same today writing this post (yes, I am the drama!).
In between the sentimental violins, piano, harpsichord, and more orchestral elements sits Simon’s deep ballad contemplating this popular theme of poetry and song.
Once there was a thing called Spring When the world was writing Verses like yours and mine All the boys and girls would sing As we sat at little tables and drank May wine Now April, May and June Seem sadly out of tune Life has stuck a pin in the balloon
This song recognizes the long-tradition of spring signifying excitement, renewal, and growth (singing! drinking! dancing!). Admittedly, these lyrics feel dated, which makes sense since they were actually written in 1938. It’s Simon’s alto delivery that makes these cliched words so memorable.
You might be thinking, aren’t songs about spring supposed to be happy? Me and Carly Simon say NOPE!
Spring is here, why doesn't my heart go dancing? Spring is here, why isn't the waltz entrancing? No desire, no ambition leads me Maybe it's because nobody needs me
The final punch comes with the last disillusioned line of the song: “Spring is here/ I hear.” What was once evident is now lost and the promise of a budding relationship no more.
Almost in response to Carly’s wonder and disillusionment, indie-queen Angel Olsen opens her track “Spring” with the plea: “Don’t take it for granted/ Love when you have it.” She wants us to be present in the moment, however fleeting the love may feel.
Olsen’s take on spring – sung in her trembling, breathtaking tone – contemplates how time makes liars of us all. As we grow, our hopes, dreams, and realities change: “How time has revealed how/ Little we know us” she sings.
Like the speaker in “Spring is Here,” we’re getting the sense the speaker in this track is a lover scorned:
Show me a love that Won't ever leave or Look for another One to deceive I'm beginning to wonder If anything's real Guess we're just at the mercy Of the way that we feel
The last two lines here also speak to the most infamous unreliable narrator: ourselves. Driven by emotion, we’re likely to go with whatever feels right in the moment. Even when it’s wrong, or transient.
Though her chilling, dreamy tone might leave us sad and contemplative, Olsen still thinks the momentary warmth – the brief reprieve of Spring – may be worth it:
So give me some heaven Just for a while Make me eternal There in your smile
With hints to eternal and infinity, she suggests perhaps some feelings, or memories, can outlast the seasons.