A recent trend I have been seeing on social media and lifestyle blogs around the time of the New Year is that of a “Word of the Year.” The concept is that one will choose a word to represent the upcoming year, and that this word will shape one’s goals and attitudes for the year. Most of the Words of the Year I have seen are the kinds of clichés I associate with cheesy motivational posters. Grow. Thrive. Heal. Love. I thought about making a Word of the Year for my own personal growth this year, but those kinds of words don’t really appeal to me.
I was out for a walk a week or so ago, listening to the most recent Zac Brown Band album. I’ve had the album for a few months, but my music collection these days is so huge that I don’t usually listen to an album dozens of times in the first week of having it, like I did back in the CD era, so I’ve listened to it maybe 10 times through at the most. And while I was out walking that day, I really heard the lyrics to the album’s title track for the first time. I’d heard them as background music several times, but this was the first time I really listened to what Zac was saying.
And I realized… this is it. This is my Word of the Year for 2022:
(I made this today’s Song of the Day. If you aren’t already subscribed to my Song of the Day blog, go do that now.)
The lyrics on the surface refer to what the United States of America, and the world in general, have gone through the last couple years. Life has dealt the world some significant blows. Everyone is going through hard times brought on by unexpected events, many of which are out of our control. We’re all exhausted trying to hold everything together. But humanity is resilient. We will come back from this. Life will go on, and there is still hope.
The theme of a comeback could apply to the band’s career as well. The band spent more than a decade playing just the right balance of music sounding authentic enough to be country music but with enough influence from other genres to be interesting and noteworthy. (Side note: it’s a bit unexpected, considering that I grew up not listening to country music at all, that today I prefer more traditional sounding country music to the country-pop that is all over country radio now. But that’s another story.) Then, in 2019, the band released an album called The Owl (the only ZBB full-length studio album that I don’t have) that sounded more like weird slightly country-ish electronic pop than the sound I had grown to love. And after that, in 2021, they released the album The Comeback, which sounds more like their usual sound.
The year 2022 is going to be my comeback. The life I thought I had disappeared two years ago, leaving its place unsettled chaos. The way I used to live isn’t there anymore, and many aspects of it just aren’t possible anymore. But it’s time for me to do something about it. Time to stop being afraid, time to stop making excuses, time to stop wasting time. There are still a lot of things in life I don’t have figured out, especially after the events of the last two years. But I’ll never figure it out if I keep doing the same old things that don’t work anymore.
How are you doing? Let me know in the comments.