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W h o o s h. Like a shot of euphoria (or heroin, really, from the film Trainspotting [which this song is featured in]), a wave of instant calm washes over you and you’re immediately put to ease. There’s country/western twang in there, but it’s not overtly country territory; it’s just there to add character to an otherwise otherworldly soundscape. The muddled, gentle plodding bass adds hypnotic quality to the mix. This, to me, is a perfect song. ‘Deep Blue Day’, created by Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois (originally on Apollo: Atmospheres & Soundtracks), is a lush, atmospheric, dreamy in utero ambient piece. It’s perfect to me, because put simply, it evokes emotion (calmness, laid back happiness, reflection, and total nostalgia.) Nostalgia and this song probably go hand in hand for most people. It’s instantly or most notably recognizable from the memorable sequence in Trainspotting, where the lead character Renton swims through a rather hellacious sewage sea…within a toilet. Pretty juxtaposition, given the tone of the song, and his unfortunate desperation to get a bag of heroin.
Nostalgia comes in a second wave for me, personally. During my first year of high school, I had been given my sister’s CD of the Trainspotting soundtrack, so that made up the soundtrack to my life during that time, and like a lot of kids, musical snapshots of glam rock, glitterfied Bowie, Britpop and classic rock was the pinnacle of top music to help make life a little easier. I hadn’t been exposed to much ambient at all (and had never heard of such a thing), but when I put my headphones on and pressed play on my Walkman, everything around me turned to black (in a lovely, non-gothic way) and I felt at peace. To add to the setting, I had a study hall with a room within the classroom, so most times, I’d be alone in this little room, all to myself, with my awesome CDs. I’d usually draw Syd Barrett or Ziggy Stardust or a glam rock version of young Christopher Walken (but that’s for another story), all the while immersed in an incredibly diverse mix of music.
But back to the question of a “perfect” song - what makes a song perfect? Of course, it’s all subjective. To me, a perfect song is timeless. It consistently delivers, time and time again. It gives you the same feeling it did when you first heard it (or the first time you REALLY listened to it - that it hit you in the solar plexus.) To me, “Deep Blue Day” doesn’t just remind me of a time when I was 15, starting high school, feeling super anxious (which aren’t nice things!), sure it reminds me of those things, but the fact that it gave me peace each time stands out more to me. The fact that it still does, today, in fact, move me. In essence, it’s just a song. Break it down, and it you remove the mystique. All it is are machines working in unison together to generate sound signals and waves. The people in the studio conglomerating in a creative fashion, inputting ideas, removing, analyzing, tweaking, adjusting knobs and switches and levels. But the emotions and feelings that come with these “perfect” works (be them books, movies, songs, poems, even things said by people throughout history) has a brilliant affect that works both good and bad. The next time you listen to something, or watch something or read something and you find it outstandingly profound, ask yourself what about it does it for you. Sometimes you’ll find a great song is more than just, well, a great song.