I love the song “September” by Earth, Wind & Fire. Like, I go nuts for it. If I’m at a party where there’s a dance floor I’m dancing to this song. If there’s no dance floor I’m making one. I stop conversations to listen to this song when it comes on. Some folks begin celebrating “spooky season” as early as September but NOT ME because I associate this month with this joyous song instead of ghosts.
But I didn’t always love it, and strangely enough I have Taylor Swift to thank for bringing me around to it.
Several years ago Taylor Swift did a modern cover of September. I believe it was an in-studio performance for some radio station or streaming service or whatever. But it wasn’t a bombastic, celebratory, joyous version of the song like the original is. It was a Sad White Girl version, with melancholy music and somber singing. Normally this metalhead doesn’t pay attention to pop artists doing bad covers of songs from the 1970s, but somehow news of this came to me and I paid attention.
The reaction to it, however brief in the span of her career, was sour. Even folks who liked her music turned their nose up at this sad version of September as if to say, “Oh honey, no.” It was always followed by those same people talking about what a great song the original is and that it’s a classic because of its celebratory and joyous nature. It’s not meant to be a sad ballad. It’s a groove that’s meant to be enjoyed!
This metalhead found his curiosity piqued. I’d always known about Earth, Wind & Fire and I was marginally aware of the song but I realized I’d never given it a serious listen. I had to see what everyone was so upset about. I understood in moments and it’s since become one of my all-time favorite songs.
It’s especially fitting that I get to post this blog on September 21, too.