I’m sat in a rustic, Victorian-era pub with my girlfriend. It’s our anniversary and I’ve decided to take her here to experience the old-world charm this establishment has provided to my friends and I time after time. It’s very much a real ale, proper drinking pub and the jukebox has been playing the sort of artists you’d expect in a place like this – Black Sabbath, the Rolling Stones and the Beatles. At some point, a song comes on that seems to have defined my summer: Rod Stewart’s cover of the Jimi Hendrix song ‘Angel’.
It’s not a particularly accomplished song musically. It’s your typical, bread-and-butter, classic rock song.
Usually, a summer is accompanied by a standout, technicolour pop song that comes to define and represent the beach and garden parties. But in what was a less frenzied summer in comparison to the last, this was the song that seemed to return to me time and time again.
The lyrics didn’t relate to me much at all, but the tone did. It’s weirdly soulful and wistful, contemplative; a song that manages to combine a sense of nostalgia with one of optimism and vigour.
In my first summer at university, perhaps I didn’t need a song to relate to in the same way. Summer wasn’t going to be as stirring as last year, that marking the transition from life at home to a completely new life in a new city. I didn’t need to look for a new meaning.
I found this song on a pretty dreary, overcast day in July, the antithesis to a remarkably bright summer.
I’d been working five days a week since June and would be doing so until the end of August. For four minutes and six seconds in the pub, during a day of celebration, I found myself escaping from that a little bit and indulging in the occasion. And I would come back to it regularly over the course of the summer.
The song opens and ends with the same few, sedentary chords. It doesn’t overstate itself, but it allows itself a little time to carve its own space. That’s what makes this song special. It just hits the spot. I can bet there are many songs similar to it, but much like the summer it represents, all that mattered was that I enjoyed it for a little while.