This song is among the music that got me through the first two months of the pandemic in New York City - mid-March to mid-May - when everything was getting worse and worse every single day and no one had any idea what to do.
The City went from one of the most dynamic places in the world to deserted streets from one day to the next. When you went outside you would rarely see someone and when you did pass someone on the street, it felt different from ever before.
"Story to story
Building to building
Street to street
We pass each other on the stairs"
In this city it's almost always an anonymous experience to pass someone on subway or street stairs because there are so many people living here.
But all of sudden with the pandemic shutdown, the act of passing another person on stairs had a much deeper meaning, especially if you passed a nurse or doctor or healthcare worker coming from or going to work - because they could not get a break, and the MetaBronx work space is near a hospital so sirens were going 24/7.
So passing a masked person wearing scrubs, you could see the urgency and exhaustion in their eyes - and you couldn’t help from getting an overwhelming feeling of tearful and endless gratitude, happy that you had a chance to give them a thankful smile 😊 at a time that was truly, truly bleak. Dark days.
The lyrics are from the song "The Stairs" by INXS, originally released originally released on the studio album “X” in 1990 by record companies Atlantic Records, Mercury Records, an the Warner-Elektra-Atlantic (WEA) distribution consortium.
Even though the song is 30 years old, i didn't go a day without listening to it because it both captured the feeling of NYC during the pandemic shutdown, and is also poetic and hopeful, of only because the inimitable voice of lead singer Michael Hutchence - who died in 1997 at only 37 years old - creates an immediate emotional connection with the listener.
In over 20 years, the music industry hasn't found a charismatic voice like Michael's to continue that side of the male singing tradition. I would say his predecessor was Jim Morrison from The Doors (who died even younger, when he was 27, in 1971).
Both their voices and singing styles had unmistakable roots in American blues music, which remains the most important musical innovation of the past 200 years of human history.
Planet Earth and New York City
music by INXS -- song by Andrew Farriss and Michael Hutchence
the album "X" (1990) -- Atlantic Records / Mercury Records / WEA