Friday 1 October 2010

Something Good Coming

It's weird how a song will just capture you sometimes. We like songs every day; but every now and then, maybe once every four months-- a song will really, really take you. And I'm not talking about a new song by The Script that is quite cool and everyone likes. I mean, an album version of a song by your favorite singer, or a YouTube cover version with only nine hits that you really really love. It just hits you.

I only found this song today. It's a recent track by Tom Petty, called 'Something Good Coming.' I've literally done nothing all day except listen to it. I think that when you find a song that moves you, really moves you, you need to keep listening to it, you need to figure it out; figure out what it means to you.

I know so well the look on your face
And there’s something lucky about this place
There’s something good coming just over the hill
There’s something good coming I know it will

Is this song important to me, and my life? Is there a feeling that it gives me that I've not been allowing myself? Does it just sound cool? I don't have all the answers-- but I know the way this song makes me feel is something new. It's something slightly different to what has come before. That's the power of music. That's the power of art. It's right there.

Tom Petty fans moan that this video only has 90,000 views when Miley Cyrus has 12 million. But that isn't the point. That isn't why Tom Petty makes music. It isn't a numbers game. This is, clearly, a very personal song for Tom Petty. There's a video on YouTube of him playing it with the band (which won't allow embedding, so I can't bring it here) - but you see how utterly engrossed Petty and the band are, and his little smile at the end when he knows they'll nailed the song. That's the power of music. That's the power of art. It's right there.

In the hands of a lesser singer, or perhaps even Petty earlier in his career - the song would have been something different. It might have been more obvious; more anthemic, more ballad-like. But that's what gets me about this song; it has so much restraint. It has a voice of experience, a voice of maturity, a voice of pain and a voice of love. And it's all rolled into one.

And I know that look that’s on your face
There’s something lucky about this place
There’s something good coming
For you and me
Something good coming
There has to be

I don't know whether you guys like Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, and I don't know whether you'll like this song. I guess it doesn't matter -- what matters is that we all keep an eye out for these types of songs. Songs that speak to us, as individuals, that speak our lives, that give us strength in our lives; and give us the companionship and understanding that sometimes others can't.

And I’m in for the long run
Wherever it goes
Riding the river
Wherever it goes

Care to share?


  1. It's actually my favorite song on "Mojo" have good taste!

  2. I was brought up on Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers :D I had a "one song" day like that I discovered High Road by The Broken Bells:

  3. "In a typical Petty, downtrodden sort of way," you phrase that so perfectly!

  4. I know what you mean - some songs just grab you in the first instance and, in time, just lose their buzz. But I agree, if you like a song - never stop listening to it to 'save' it up. Just keep listening!

  5. Thank you for sharing your thoughts about Something Good Coming and music. I've loved Tom Petty for years and have often thought why? I love rock and roll; the Rolling Stones; and followed Bruce Springsteen avidly. Yet I keep coming back to Tom Petty and, after seeing him at the Fonda on June 11th, I knew why. He is a muscian's musician, a master composer, sings with a depth of emotion rarely heard, and he is also a true rock and roller.

    Tom Petty is a prolific composer and has an amazing body of work. I'm not familiar with each and every song he's written, but I've yet to hear one that I've thought isn't good. Listening to Something Good Coming reminded me of something a classical pianist and head of the piano department at a highly regarded College of Music said to me when I was lucky enough to take lessons with him. (I am not an accomplished pianist, more early intermediary, but he told me that he enjoyed having me as a student because I was so engaged by and interested in what he taught me about music.) When I was studying with him, I tackled a piece that was difficult for me: The Bach Prelude and Fugue in B flat major, no. 21 (BMV 866) from Book 1 of the Well-Tempered Clavier. My teacher, who had studied and played Bach extensively, acknowledged that Bach was a prolific composer and left an amazing body of work. Then he said that even if Bach had written only this Prelude and Fugue, he would still be considered a phenomenal composer.

    I believe the same can be said of Tom Petty. He had already reached the pinnacle of success and I had no doubt that the virtuosity of his body of work would live on for years in the future -- perhaps on a par with Bach, Beethoven and Brahms. But he hasn't stopped composing because he is a composer, musician and artist. Writing music for Tom is like breathing is for the rest of us. The depth and beauty of Something Good Coming confirms this and shows that Tom Petty's music is relevant and he can still reach new heights and that his artistry knows no bounds.

    I don't know if this link will work, but it's to a recording on YouTube of Glenn Gould playing the Prelude and Fugue (and no, I couldn't play it anywhere near as well as he could):

  6. This song captured me today. I've listened at least 20 times.