Thursday, January 21, 2010

Big lights will inspire you

Sarah's post about music and driving and "Empire State of Mind" definitely struck a chord with me, and reminded me of watching Alicia Keys perform "Empire State of Mind (Part II) Broken Down" on SNL a couple weeks back. This song shares the same chorus as the Jay-Z anthem, but Alicia's sitting at the piano for this one, singing verses about the city and its people until the drums kick in at the tail end. When I saw it on SNL the song gave me chills, over and over again, listening to her sing about the struggle of the city, how tired it can make you, but then turning on a dime and singing that sense of striving and urgency that draws people here like a magnet. It's a song that describes the place I've chosen as my home, and it seems like a challenge too, something to live up to. Even the way her voice swoops upward on that chorus, veering perilously close to cracking but finding that note and holding it -- somehow that captures it all, too.

It's been awesome to see the city adopt this song as an anthem. It makes me think about what I'm doing and whether I'm living up to it. It makes me feel like I spend too much time watching TV and eating Chipotle when I should be doing other, greater things. Like how the fact that I work in 30 Rock, just a few floors above the studios where they make SNL, can be such a bitter pill to swallow sometimes. What dreams I had for myself.

But hey - I'm still in New York. These streets will make you feel brand new.

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