We all have songs that we can relate to very specific events, moods or people. Who among us can think of D:Ream without being reminded of the optimism of 1997? But of so much more significance to each of us than national moments of hope (and ill-advised ones at that, my friend captain hindsight is so fond of telling me) are the curious and unpredictable connections we make between ordinary everyday events and the songs that come to represent those same events.
Up With People is taken from Lambchop’s 2000 album Nixon - their fifth album, their masterpiece, and their first to take hold in the UK. It’s a beautifully contrasting song of handclaps, gospel choirs and uplifting and bright guitar chords set against a catch-you-unawares Kurt Wagner lyric in which he cheerfully admonishes us with the words “and we are screwing up our lives today”.
Up With People is also the sound of Spring and Summer 2000, of endless bus and train journeys to and from work. It’s the tune that plays as I stare out the window, trying to rouse myself from early morning slumber, watching the countryside shake, rattle and roll by. It can never belong to any other place or time, just as no other song can belong to this place or time.