God Only Knows


God Only Knows

I have this on repeat. I can’t stop listening to it. 

It’s this moment. When the gentle twinkling of the percussion gives way to a wall of voices. When this chorus of voices, all untrained trusting confidence, ask in all earnestness, ‘what good would living do me?’ and you feel like they mean it, like they mean it in their school gym more than the Sex Pistols and their fraudulent posturing or anything that Chris Martin has ever sung. 

When you’ve never been hurt in your life it doesn’t matter how fleeting and trivial it is, it hurts like no one else can hurt. It’s not about the depth of experience – it’s about the impossible sting you can’t even begin to make sense of. And the fact that anyone even five minutes older than you seems incapable of understanding why this is such a big deal only makes everything worse.

This is what Hans Fenger, the music teacher who arranged this said:

“I knew virtually nothing about conventional music education, and didn’t know how to teach singing. Above all, I knew nothing of what children’s music was supposed to be. But the kids had a grasp of what they liked: emotion, drama, and making music as a group. Whether the results were good, bad, in tune or out was no big deal — they had élan. This was not the way music was traditionally taught. But then I never liked conventional ‘children’s music,’ which is condescending and ignores the reality of children’s lives, which can be dark and scary. These children hated ‘cute.’ They cherished songs that evoked loneliness and sadness.”

That needs to be put on a sign somewhere.


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