The votes for song of the year are in. Actually there was only one vote and it was mine.
Let's see if you can figure out what I voted for. In a year of Sandy and Sandy Hook, with a big problem in an Aurora movie theater, the acrimony of an election year, the fiscal cliff, unemployment, and you name it, one of the few things we have had to antidote all of it was a tall girl who swam for us, and smiled all the way, safe to shore.
If Missy Franklin was Hope, so was my song. The green light at the end of the dock.
With hope comes optimism. Sometimes we hope that things will happen that don't or can't. It might be best to have little hopes, instead of big ones. But who hasn't had the big hopes? Unconditional love, wealth, success, and Porsches are big ones.
Making it home safely on a snowy day is a little hope.
Then along comes life and there's an old voice in my head that's holding me back. We're torn apart and the smiles go away. My smiles come and go just about every day, except when my lap dog is on my lap. If you are considering a dog, I recommend them.
Back to my song. The group is from Iceland, if that helps. The five members of the band have unpronounceable and unspellable names. So you'll never hear someone in the audience yell out “Marry me, Nanna Bryndis Hilmasdottir!” There, that's a big clue. Nanna is one of the two lead singers. She usually wears a hat on the back of her head.
One late night I caught the video for the song. It's brilliant. It was directed by Mihai Wilson and Marcella Moser. “The video follows five sky-sailors played by the male members of the band, venturing across a fantasy land with a lost mythical female creature, all the while continuously running into nightmarish creatures. With the aid of the mystical creature played by Nanna Bryndis Hilmarsdottir, they survive it all and return her to her people.”
The first time I saw it I thought I wasn't awake. The creatures are very chimerical and very memorable.
None of that would matter if the song was a stinker, but it's not.
If you are still in the dark, ask one of your kids. Group from Iceland, fantastic video, and band member names you can't spell. Gee whiz: Arnar Rosenkranz Hilmarsson, who needs a haircut bad.
The hope in the song comes in the chorus, which audiences have learned and sing along with at the group's behest. “Though the truth may vary, this ship will carry our bodies safe to shore.” Watch the live version of the song on YouTube.
The group is most commonly compared to Mumford & Sons and Arcade Fire, and they are referred to as an “indie folk, indie pop” band.
I dare you to download the song on a bad day and not feel better. I also know that my song of the year might be your least favorite song of the year.
If you don't like it, you don't like it. But at least you have heard me out this far, and maybe I have helped you form an opinion about a favorite song of yours.
Music can reach several different organs all at once — or none at all. “Little Talks” by Of Monsters and Men made my days better in 2012, and on those days when “I feel like I'm wrong when I am right,” I will remember the night when I was in rush hour, on the way to my art opening, grumbling and it took my grumble away.
Craig Marshall Smith is an artist, educator and Highlands Ranch resident. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org