December

To celebrate the first day of the last month of the year, I thought I’d write about a 15-year-old song that always seems new to me: Collective Soul’s “December.”

These guys haven't aged a day... in my mind.

I know I’ve posted about my strange ‘90s nostalgia before, but really, I’m not delusional. I know that the ’90s have receded into the mists of time. I am dimly aware that I graduated from high school more than a decade ago and that everything that was new then is old now. And not vintage/retro/awesome old, either. More like passé/outdated/has-been old. And if I ever forget this fact, I teach a roomful of community college students who are more than willing to remind me, on a weekly basis, that I am a geezer.

Nevertheless, there are some things from the mid-’90s that I persist in thinking of as brand new, and one of those things is Collective Soul’s 1995 hit “December.” Why? No idea. Perhaps it didn’t get played to death on the radio stations I was listening to in high school. Or maybe it’s the harmonies, or the violins, or just the fact that the music is so good. Or maybe I didn’t pay too much attention to it 15 years ago and it’s taken this long for me to absorb the song. I don’t know. But every time I hear it, it gives me that quality-new-song feeling, the feeling I’ve almost forgotten, when you turn on the radio, hear a song and think “wow, this song is actually good.”

Every time it comes on the radio, I still feel exactly the way I did the first time I heard it, when I was getting ready for school in the morning, putting on my flannel shirt and clogs, and slipping my Spanish 3 book into my backpack. I thought then, and I always think now, “hey, what a good song.” And I always think the song is newly released.

Well, until recently, when I heard it on the classic rock station. That was jarring. When I complained, my husband, who is 14 years my senior, laughed and welcomed me to my 30s for what seemed the umpteenth time in two years. I hope the classic rock station thing hasn’t ruined the new-song-feeling for me. I’d like to think that “December” is new for all the rest of my Decembers.

For any of you who’d like to see the 15-year-old video from YouTube’s partner site Vevo, I’ve posted it below, in all its 1995 alternative, long-haired, blazer-clad glory. May you also get that good-new-song-vibe from it. Happy December.

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