Nothing compares to you

Let’s get on with the theme, shall we?

I had written in one of my previous posts, “Black”, that some songs become synonymous with a period or a moment of our lives. They come and go, rather quickly, like most feelings that are subject to the whims of time. Sometimes you revisit them just to remember those moments and feelings. Sometimes you avoid them like vampires avoid the light, because they remind you things you have tried so hard to forget; they would “burn” you like daylight supposedly burns the mythical vampires.

One such song for me was “Nothing compares to you”, made famous by Sinead O’Connor and the memorable video she shot for it. I wasn’t aware that the song was written by Prince, but it wouldn’t have mattered. The song has come to symbolize my break-up with my first big love. Well, being dumped by my first big love, after a 3.5 months relationship. The year was 1989.

I grew up of course. Not only biologically but also mentally and emotionally. Yet I have never managed to conquer my aversion to, no blatant hatred for, that song. I listened to the original by Prince; nah, didn’t work! Then the 1980s had a comeback and the radio stations started playing it over and over again. I zapped and zapped. To be honest, I never liked the person Sinead O’Connor turned into either. That purist Catholicism, the patronizing public letter she wrote to Miley Cyrus…

Then the leaves of our youth started to fall one by one in 2017. Bowie, Cohen, Prince himself, and countless others. Some deaths of famous people touch us more than others – guess this is a familiar feeling for many. We know how traumatic Kurt Cobain’s suicide was for many in his generation. Well for me, it began with Freddie Mercury (yes, I am old!); then Heath Ledger and last year particularly Bowie and Chris Cornell! A man I was barely listening to; a man some of whose songs I detested (“Black Hole Sun”). But his suicide, for a reason that must surely relate to my personal life at that time, had a lot of resonance. I started reading about him; his past depression, his record of drug abuse. I couldn’t get my head around the fact: why would a successful, happily married father (at least as it appears from the outside) can do this? To himself, that’s easier to fathom. To his loved ones? Hours after giving a concert with his group. When, apparently, nothing seemed wrong.

I guess, the famous aphorism holds true: we can never know what’s in a wo/man’s mind.

During my week long obsession with Cornell, I bumped into one of his recent live acoustic recordings. For the online radio station SiriusXM. Guess what it was? An amazing cover of Nothing Compares to You! I thought, this cannot be a coincidence. I know, you won’t expect such spiritual sentences from the arch-constructivist, but I have become much more spiritual after my son’s illness.

So yes, this couldn’t be a coincidence. I had to make peace with that song after 28 years. And I did. With the wisdom of knowing that nothing could be further from the truth than the title of the song. Of course, “they” can be compared to each other, our loved ones. People may be unique in their own ways; feelings are not…


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