Song 229: Ron Sexsmith, “This Song” (2000)


I love the central idea of this song—er, “This Song”: that the chances of any work of art ever getting completed, or released to the world, are so miniscule. The odds, from an artist’s lack of inspiration to an indifferent public, are forever stacked against it. Hate is strong, the darkness thrives. The fact that you’re hearing the song at all is something of a miracle.

I also love that Ron Sexsmith treats the song as a living, breathing thing. “It trembles here, before my eyes/How can this song survive?” And isn’t it a living, breathing thing? A song has its own personality, an image that grows and changes over time, even if its words and melody stays consistent.

As if trying to stack the deck, Sexsmith dresses the song up with saxophones that seem to provide commentary about how great the song is: Check out this song! It’s so jazzy! Take a listen so it can make it! Please! In the background, there’s Sexsmith, gently pleading his case while shrugging his shoulders.


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