life is hard

The new album by Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeroes has been streaming on NPR this past week (thanks JF for the tip!).

Last week I discovered Humans of New York (HONY), which is an ongoing photo project of Brandon Stanton which captures photographs of people in NYC with a little quote or story about each individual he photographs.

These two items of information are not connected in any sort of objective way, but they fit together in a very real way for me.  While browsing HONY over the past few days I have had moments of real emotion all based on just single photos of an individual/group and a little snippet of text.  Some are moments of joy, some of sadness, some of humbleness, some of surprising honesty, and some of WTF?!  It is amazing how little is needed to tell a story and convey a lot of emotion.  There were a few posts in particular that almost brought me to tears.  I won’t post them here because I don’t want to be a downer, but let’s just say that a lot of people out there have had, or are having, very very difficult lives.  Because these hard times are posted right beside the funny and the good, the site takes on a very tangible sense of the variety of life.  Not just one person from another but one moment from the next.  Sometimes we are up, sometimes we are down, and sometimes…well…we don’t even really know where we are.

So after hours of looking through posts on HONY one particular song on the new Edward Sharpe album really caught my attention as it seems to be capturing the same complex tragic but beautiful nature of life.  It’s called “Life is Hard”.  Have a listen.

Life is beauty through and through
Life is sunny, life is cool
Life is even easy too
But if my word is to be true
Life is something to behold
But if the truth is to be told
Let us not leave out any part
Do not fear, it’s safe to say it here
You will not be called a weakling
nor a fraud
For feeling the pain of the whole wide world
You want to help but can’t help feeling you cannot
And it’s killing you while you’re just trying to smile from your heart
So go on, say it, on the same knees you’re praying
Yes, life is hard

Come celebrate
Life is hard
Come celebrate Life is hard
All life is all we are

Celebrate it in the sun, promenade it with everyone
elevate it in a song
And I’ll be there to play it, don’t get me wrong
When I feel like dying and being gone
When life is hard
There’s just one thing, let’s not forget
Yes! life is it!
Life is it, life is it, it’s where it’s at
It’s getting skinny, getting fat
It’s falling deep into a love,
it’s getting crushed just like a butt
Life there’s no love, its getting beat into the ground
It’s getting lost and getting found,
to growing up and getting round
It’s feeling silence, feeling sound
It’s feeling lonely, feeling full
It’s feeling oh so beautiful!
Yes!

Come celebrate
Life is hard
Come celebrate
Life is hard
All life is all we are

Update: The original link I posted to the tune has been removed from YouTube so hopefully this live performance on Letterman will be up for a while.

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