I was puttering about on the computer this morning, doing my daily reading, believing that it was Thursday. On Friday. I noted in an earlier post that Life During Quarantine Time is certainly making that sense of temporal dislocation more prevalent for many of us. That said, I do note that such a sense comes from a place of privilege, and that for many folks, the daily grind remains the daily grind, only more so, and more dangerously. We who post comfortably from the safety and security of our homes should never forget that, as many who needlessly romanticize quarantine without thinking have done, to their discredit.
But still: it does feel weird and disorienting to me, in my life, to have lost any sense of weekly calendar, including losing any effortless sense of knowing what day it is at any given time. How to remedy that? As a musical person, it occurred to me that a weekly calendar of Songs of the Days could help, something played each morning to cement a particular segment of the calendar to the mind for the ensuing 18 hours or so while awake. I decided that the selected songs would have to meet three criteria:
- Each song must explicitly state the name of the day of the week in its title and lyrics, prominently, repeatedly. New Order’s “Blue Monday” and Simon and Garfunkel’s “Wednesday Morning, 3am” are both brilliant, for example, but the words “Monday” and “Wednesday” never actually appear in their lyrics. Conversely, Harry Nilsson’s “Here’s Why I Did Not Go to Work Today” is very specifically about Thursday, though its title doesn’t make that memorably clear, and its subject matter certainly doesn’t help clarify things in Life During Quarantine Time.
- Each song must carry ear-worm staying power, being hooky enough to stick in the mental jukebox, all day. So Eric Dolphy’s “Come Sunday” is one of the most beautiful jazz songs ever, a deep personal favorite, and a fine evocation of the first day of the week, but its improvisations around the core melody don’t really have a lot of fore-brain stickiness.
- Each song must be on the reasonably gentle side of the sonic and lyrical spectrum, suitable for spins with my very early bird morning coffee, while most of the rest of the world is still sleeping. So Megadeth’s “Good Mourning/Black Friday” doesn’t quite cut the mustard on either count, though it’s a fine song.
I scoured my listening catalog, did a bit of online searching, and here’s my proposed personal Songs of the Days selections. For the record: Wednesday is the day that most songwriters forgot. Got an alternative musical week in mind? Hit me in the comments. I might be able to make a full monthly calendar out of this concept.
“Sunday Morning” by The Velvet Underground
“Monday, Monday” by The Mamas and the Papas
“Ruby Tuesday” by The Rolling Stones
“Ash Wednesday” by Kamikaze Hearts
“Thursday Morning” by Giles, Giles and Fripp
“Black Friday” by Steely Dan
“Saturday in the Park” by Chicago