On Not Fearing Outdated Age, with Rob Thomas

Rob Thomas is a musician who has been across the block just a few instances. Because the lead singer and co-founder of the alt-rock group Matchbox Twenty, a three-time Grammy Award–winner, a solo artist, and a songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, his expertise and expertise spans a number of sides of the music business. To name him profitable is an understatement. Having been within the business for effectively over twenty years, and having had large success from a younger age, he’s the form of musician who evokes scrutiny—not solely to find out how he succeeded, but additionally to see whether or not or not he has succeeded effectively.

The music is an easy, however considerate rebuke in opposition to the concern of previous age and the will to cling to youth.

Thomas found out early in his profession that the perfect songs he writes are essentially the most emotionally sincere ones, and his newest single, “One Less Day (Dying Young),” is not any exception. In it, he takes an introspective look again at his life. Like many younger musicians, Thomas’s early years of success had been marked by hedonism. Medicine, intercourse, and rock and roll—and many it. By all accounts, Thomas is the form of one that very possible might have burned vivid and died younger, a sufferer of his personal reckless life-style. However on the peak of his fame, he and his bandmates cleaned up their acts, and in opposition to the chances, they’re nonetheless round making music at the moment. Rob Thomas hasn’t solely had a profitable profession with Matchbox Twenty, nevertheless; he’s additionally launched three solo albums previous to Chip Tooth Smile, his fourth solo album, which comes out April 26 of this 12 months (2019). “One Less Day (Dying Young)” is the one that kicks off Chip Tooth Smile and, as Thomas says, “sets the tone” for the album.

It’s a tone that encapsulates Thomas’s mindset as he thinks about the place he’s in his life, in his relationships, and in his profession. Many musicians in Thomas’s acquaintance haven’t been as lucky as him; he has watched friends fall out of the limelight over time, and plenty of of his associates have really died alongside the way in which—a few of them lately. Thomas has been clear concerning the influence these deaths have had on him, and in interviews about “One Less Day (Dying Young),” he has stated the genesis of the music got here from watching quite a lot of his associates die younger. Getting older is “a privilege that’s not afforded to everyone.”

Despite the grim subject material, the music is surprisingly upbeat. Aided by a tune so catchy you virtually can’t assist however have it memorized after one listening, Thomas’s first single off Chip Tooth Smile is a reminder of the enjoyment of life itself. Via the repeating chorus of, “I’m not afraid of getting older… I’m one less day from dying young,” he explores the truism that we’re not promised even a single day on this earth, and we should always draw every breath as a celebration. The music is an easy, however considerate, rebuke in opposition to the concern of previous age and the will to cling to youth. Greater than that, it fosters gratitude for the times we spend on this earth—it encourages us to sit up for the tip with out concern.

And the music just isn’t even about getting previous, per se. Thomas believes it may be an excellent reminder for younger individuals, too, concerning the easy worth of cherishing life. “Every day that you get is really more special than you may realize,” he says, talking of how youth typically don’t suppose within the long-term. As such, the music jogs my memory of two previous inventive practices referred to as memento mori and vanitas. Memento mori is a Latin expression which means, “Remember you must die,” and in portray, a memento mori nonetheless life would comprise photos of mortality—virtually all the time a cranium, but additionally things like candles going out, hour glasses, and flowers. Something to remind the viewer that life is brief and fragile. Vanitas are additionally nonetheless lifes, however along with symbols of mortality, they could embody symbols of self-importance, resembling musical devices or books or wine. The purpose of vanitas was to indicate the viewer how fleeting life’s pleasures are (as taken from Ecclesiastes 1:2, “Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity.”)

The music video for “One Last Day (Dying Young)” makes use of the imagery of the guttering candles as Thomas sings to the digital camera about associates that he’s misplaced too younger and the way he’s not afraid of reflecting on his personal mortality. It’s directly a celebration of life, however concurrently a reminder that all of us will die. Like a memento mori, Thomas tells us to maintain our demise earlier than our eyes, not as one thing to concern, however as a reminder to stay and to stay effectively. We don’t get to redo our days on this earth. Like a vanitas, it’s a rejection of hedonism—Solomonic in which means. As a result of we should die, we should stay for greater than fleeting pleasures.

When I first heard the one on the radio, I used to be struck by the optimism of the tune, particularly contemplating it’s a music about demise. Personally, I’m typically afraid of getting older, as I take into consideration all of the issues I nonetheless need to obtain and haven’t but. Youth beckons with promise, desires, and achievement—a golden window that appears to be closing quick. I do know I ought to sit up for previous age as the approaching years of knowledge, however most of the time, I view them with dread, and sure, concern. I’m afraid of getting older—not of age itself, however of leaving issues undone, phrases unstated, achievements unclaimed. However it’s not possible to attain every part we want in our brief lifespans. As Gandalf as soon as advised Frodo in a darkish collapse Moria, “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.” Time is fleeting, however that doesn’t imply we have to concern its passage.

Thus the brand new single by Rob Thomas has a easy message, however carries a profound fact. “One Last Day (Dying Young)” just isn’t a Christian music—there isn’t a point out of the life everlasting or of God or any actual contemplation of the non secular self. However after I hear it, I’m reminded to be pleased about day by day God offers me on this earth, it doesn’t matter what these days could maintain. Life itself is a present, each breath a mercy. Once we maintain our deaths earlier than our eyes as a memento mori, we will embrace the approaching of previous age with out concern. I’ve discovered a minimum of a small quantity of braveness to face tomorrow on this music, and that’s trigger for celebration.

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