The 2023 A-to-Z blogging challenge theme is resilience. Resilience is the ability to get back on our feet and keep going after life knocks us down and kicks sand in our faces. Resilience is how the psyche survives and copes, but resilience doesn’t necessarily wear a cape of positivity.
The 26 songs I’ve chosen show us, musically, what resilience looks (sounds?) like. I’ll offer a reflection of the resilience in each song. The songs are alphabetical by the artist’s first name or the group’s name, except for M, O, U, and X.
Q is for Queen and The Show Must Go On.
This song was released as a single in the United Kingdom on 14 October 1991 in promotion for Queen’s Greatest Hits II album, six weeks before front man Freddie Mercury died. Mercury’s AIDS diagnosis hadn’t yet been made public, although media speculation abounded about his failing health. According to several sources, Wikipedia being one of those, band member Brian May wrote the song for Freddie from Freddie’s point of view as he (Freddie) faced the end of his life. Mercury was so ill at the time he recorded The Show Must Go On there was concern he wouldn’t be strong enough to physically pull off the vocal range demands of the song. That was not the case. He put his heart and soul into the song.
I’ve given this bit of background in order to recognize, and honor, the very personal story behind the song. Now, I’m going to look at this song from a resilience perspective of dealing with the business of living.
The phrase ‘the show must go on’ has origins in the theatrical world as a statement of continuing the performance regardless of any catastrophe or problem that occurs. Idiomatically, it means we must finish what we’ve started no matter what.
Queen’s song, The Show Must Go On, begins with a statement of existential crisis proportions.
Empty spaces, what are we living for… Does anybody know what we are looking for?
The lyrics allude to these philosophical questions:
What is the point of living if living is painful, depressing, no hope in sight, filled with loss, overrun with disappointment, and so forth? Why do we suffer? Why do we need heroes who must continually fight the next mindless crime? Why is life full of smoke and mirrors and fake fronts in order to get through each day, week, year? What is the point?
There is one answer for all those ponderable thoughts.
Because the show must go on. “Show” being the metaphor for life.
The show must go on is a rage against giving up. It’s getting back on our feet after life knocks us down and kicks sand in our face. It’s overcoming discouragement and disappointment. It’s finding a reason to continue when we can’t find anything in life that’s worth sticking around for, because the alternative to living not living. So, hold the line (hang on…let’s reconsider). Does anybody want to take it anymore?
In fact, yes. The show must go on but, darn it, it’s hard to keep going.
Wearing painted-on smiles (facade that everything is okay with us) just to get through the day often wears thin and our resolve to be positive and hopeful cracks and reveals our inner pain. But others depend on us to be strong. We can’t let people down.
The show must go on.
I know there are many things in life I can’t control and, where I am right now, I can only hope for the best and leave everything else to chance. I’m learning what I can and can’t change. Still, and despite the surety of the new day dawning, I can’t always see the hope in that, because I’m dark inside with a desperate yearning to be free of the things bringing me down.
The only way to do that is to no longer be among the living. I’m not willing to give in that easily to the heartaches, the disappointments, the tragedies that befall me, so my only choice is to put one foot in front of the other because…
The show must go on.
I must make the most of life, while I’m still in this life. I must strive to find the joys, simple and few as they may be. This often feels impossible, because inside, I’m fragile. I’m easily wounded and hurt. No one sees the colors of my spirit, which are soft and gentle and beautiful as butterfly’s wings. My heart is full of fairytales and happiness, but life has worn me down. I want to give up, but I won’t. I’m resilient. I’ll be a warrior to the end. I’ll face my issues/problems/challenges with a grin, because I’m never giving in. I’ll put up a fight that is so over the top that even life will sit back and take notice of my determination to keep living until I take my last breath. (Reminds me of Frank Sinatra’s My Way.)
There is an intensity and urgency in the song that urges us to live each moment, each day to the fullest, because it could very well be our last.
The show must go on, go on, go on, go on…
The Show Must Go On is resilience anthem #7 of the seven I’ve designated as anthems. This song also has my designation of being THE resilience anthem of all resilience anthems. Everything in this song speaks to the resilience of our will to hang on, to keep going, and to find meaning when everything in our lives seems meaningless and hopeless.
*The Show Must Go On 3d image © Can Stock Photo / Niphon_sun
Until next time,
writing through history one romance upon a time