Another rock and roll icon passed on today. His legacy with a certain genre of music caught my eye in the eighties. Most every song has purpose, in lyrics, in rhythm, the Cars were able to take us on a journey. There is one particular piece, has always stuck with me.
In ‘Drive’ the video I suppose makes it that much more powerful. I see a woman struggling with her own sanity, four walls around her protecting her own impulsivity, and the lyrics are haunting,
Who’s gonna hold you down,
When you shake?
Who’s gonna come around,
When you break?
I worked in mental health for a couple of decades, and in that time, I observed many struggling human beings in isolation. Our job, my job was to maintain their safety, to watch and make sure they didn’t try to harm themselves, but in that isolated space, they might find a calm, and return to the general population.
Some took hours, even overnight, some needed to be strapped to a gurney, rather than do damage to themselves. I always felt a certain compassion for their helpless nature in the throes of a psychosis. I watched tears, and I was in no position to offer them any professional solace, except one human being to another making sure they knew I was there to keep them safe.
So when I reflect on ‘Drive’ I realize the vulnerability of our lives, when we do become so lonely, there seems no solution. We make choices that we later regret, or haven’t a chance to regret. I think about an artist’s genius in what in their mind is just cutting another album, and part of the whole – sounds good in a mix, looks good in a visual, having really, sometimes, no idea the impact it might have on their audience.
I leave it to you to get through the ads, and watch the Cars speak to the frailty of the human condition, and yet plead for some common welfare to be found that will expand the possibilities of the human spirit.
© Thom Amundsen 2019
RIP – Ric Ocasek – The Cars