So I’ve chosen to close out on a single, since singles are one of those things we attempted to cover and since it allows me some focus.
Christmas singles come in a multitude of flavors. There’s the Holly Jolly joyful Christmas single, that’s all toys and Santa and celebration. There are the singles that use the holiday as a vehicle for discussing love and relationships. There are singles of nostalgia and singles that look forward with hope. There are religious singles and secular singles. And then there are singles like “The Little Things” by Athena Sorensen and The Merry Shout that appeal to our better angels. “The Little Things” officially releases on November 8 on Mosaic Rain Recordings.
Musically, “The Little Things” takes me right back to my early 70s AC/Soft Rock days when I’d wake up to “Joy” by Isaac Hayes or “Walking In The Georgia Rain” by Sonny Geraci & Climax or anything by David Gates & Bread on WRLB. And, like those days, the song starts soft and warm and builds, aided well by the performance and arrangement of The Merry Shout, who start off as background singers and finish as a heavenly choir (without ever going over the top to full on Edwin Hawkins territory). Yes, the song builds, but never loses it’s warmth. It’s like a Christmas morning that reaches that moment of peak wonder and joy and then…just stays there.
My favorite iteration of the principle comes from the television show Angel. For those who know their television (and their vampires), Angel was a vampire with a soul…fighting evil for redemption in the hopes of one day winning the right to be made human again. In the Season 2 episode “Epiphany”, Angel realizes that he can never defeat evil, for there is always new evil to take its place. And he realizes that fighting for the reward of redemption is kinda missing the point of it all. It’s actually selfish. Redemption isn’t earned through grand gestures, but from the little things…the things we do without thoughts of reward. “If nothing we do matters,” he says, “then all that matters is what we do. ‘Cause that’s all there is. What we do now. Today. The smallest act of kindness is the greatest thing in the world.”
Let me leave you with one more example of what we’re talking about, here. (As the man at the soup kitchen says to Captain Kirk in “City On The Edge of Forever”, “You expect to eat for free or something?”). Once upon a time, I had a very good friend. He passed away not long ago. But he was the one who taught me this principle in theory and in practice. When we’d be hanging out and it became necessary to, I dunno, just go to the store or pick up a pizza or something, he’d physically gird himself. Hey, we’re just going to the store. Why all the prep work? Because it was important to him that he left anyone he interacted with with at least a smile. It was important to him that he made the life of anyone he encountered just a tiny bit better, even if only for a second. It was, he felt, the reason for his existence. And he always doubted he’d be up to the task. But he always was. (Miss you, Mike. Thanks for all the little things.).