Sacred Song

On today’s commute, my “Alphabet Stew” playlist served up some Michael Bublé(1), including the It’s Time album, which was what first brought him onto my radar.

As the tracks spooled out, one song played that I had simultaneously completely forgotten about while also having it indelibly etched in my memory.

How are both of those things possible? Come : join me below the jump and let me explain.

The tune in question is “A Song for You”—I don’t know for sure who initially recorded it(2), but it’s the Donny Hathaway version of the song that was first woven into the soundtrack of my childhood.

Bublé’s album cut of this is pretty traditional, especially when looked at in the context of these first few albums of his career. Jazzy, crooner vibe, big band-type backing ensemble: pretty typical for early-aughts-era Bublé.(3)  There’s a nice trumpet solo from Chris Botti, and it’s not like Bublé’s phoning it in or anything—but overall, this studio track just doesn’t grab me the way some of the other cuts on the album do.

As embarrassing (or obnoxious) as this is to admit, I listened through that track being kind of surprised that this studio version existed at all.

And that’s because a different version of the song is so much more prominent in my brain-space.

buble

I don’t remember what year it was we saw Bublé in concert. It was the tour where he had Naturally 7 on board, so I could do the Internet research to figure it out, if I wanted to.(4) And it was an enjoyable show from stem to stern: from the opening chords of “Cry Me a River” to the almost-closing encore of “Feeling Good.”

Almost-closing. Because after the encore, after the bows, after the musicians cleared the stage, Michael Bublé sang this song.

“A Song for You.”

Unaccompanied. Unamplified. Just Michael—his voice, his technique, his heart, his passion, singing alone in a stadium filled with thousands of people.

Taking a song that was initially written to reference a romantic relationship and turning it into an expression of his love for us, his audience, and for this life of music he’s lucky enough to live.

I love you in a place
Where there’s no space or time
I love you for my life
You’re a friend of mine
And when my life is over
Remember when we were together
We were alone and I was singing this song to you

It was a holy moment.

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(1) Yes, kids, it’s April 19th and I’m still only in the 2nd letter of the alphabet. My current (off-the-cuff) prediction: it’s gonna take 3 years to get through the entire CD collection alphabetically.

(2) It’s late, it’s Friday, and I’m too lazy to do research tonight. (*gasp*)

(3) Yes, I’m aware how pretentious that phrasing sounds. #SorryNotSorry

(4) Again: Friday. Late. Tired. Lazy.

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Image credit: Flickr user Eva Rinaldi, via a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license.

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