A Dance to the Music of Time — “What Is Life”

A Dance to the Music of Time is my attempt to pinpoint exactly why I like pop music (and also try my hand at music criticism). It’s entirely subjective, but if you’re interested in starting a conversation I’ll be down in the comments. It’s gonna be published whenever I feel like it and I’ve no intention to target specific songs — when a song gives me joy or makes me think hard enough, I’ll do it on the spot.

The Song: “What Is Life”
from the 1970 album All Things Must Pass by George Harrison
reached #10 on the Billboard Hot 100/B-side to #1 in the UK

“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other.”

Matthew 6:24

Religion doesn’t really mix with popular music. It used to: for so many millennia, most of the songs people knew were hymns, and they sang only for the Almighty and His great power. But in our more secularized age, where the church’s aims have steadily diverged from that of the mass populace, it’s difficult to imagine how one can love both and still maintain a healthy balance between the two. The ecstasy that popular music has brought for many years now finds itself switching sides, at loggerheads with the ecstasy of religion.

As commanded by the Holy Book itself, the choice between religion and music seems to be a binary one: when you love either, you devote a lot of time and energy into it, and you spare none for the other. To someone like me who likes to pride himself as a person of faith, this has become pretty hard to deal with: yes I would like to spend hours, days, perhaps weeks on end scrutinizing the Holy Book, and yet the evil fleshly ways of the world tempt me. I have read Rob Sheffield’s Dreaming the Beatles more times than I have read the Bible. I think about Paul McCartney more often than I do Jesus Christ. (For that matter, I think more about Ringo than I do Jesus Christ.) This, as most Christians will reliably inform you, is not an ideal place to find yourself.

But is there some way to reconcile the gap between the two? Can one find not just religion, but religious solace, within the bewitching realm of words and music? To that, let’s go on another of our deep dives, and let’s look at one musician, one song, in particular: Beatle George Harrison’s “What Is Life”, a stunning, exuberant hard rock song where God and earthly love is invoked in one fell swoop, and in the process becomes one heck of a moving modern hymn. I don’t think it answers everything: it doesn’t even answer the most basic questions. But perhaps it might bring out a couple of insights, some interesting phenomena, which might just set us on the way.

(I should point out that even though I’m trying to talk about religion in general and its relation to music, my personal examples will be predominantly Christian because that’s the religion I happen to have. If you have examples about Buddhism or Islam or Hinduism, do feel free to share them in the comments. And keep it civilized, though I know it’s a big ask on the Internet.)

Chapter 1: Get Me to the Church on Time

What do we look for when we lose ourselves in pop music or religion?

“Rubbish,” I hear you cry, “I do not seek to lose myself in either of those things, I have a perfectly logical relationship with both.” In which case this blogpost is probably not for you, so here are some other things I have done. But also: are you sure? A common argument I hear when people try to defend religion is that “we all have to believe in something”; allow me to make a similar point when I say that we all need to lose ourselves in something from time to time. The harsh realities of real life come thick and fast: if you say you do not need to escape it occasionally, to take a breather and ignore the things happening to you, then you are either Jesus Christ or a liar. And I doubt you’re the former.

My point is: both pop music and religion, at their heart, follow the same rule. They both offer happiness, or at least catharsis, that allows us a temporary escape from life. We believe in God or an afterlife because we need a hopeful future at the end of it all; we escape into pop music because it brings us bliss, however temporary. Behind that, you also find a message of voluntary surrender: “I give myself over to this person or deity, they control my heart completely”. There was a time when these two items seemed to blend perfectly: religious hymns were all the rage back in the 50s and early 60s, with renditions of both centuries-old and newly written hymns (like Al Hibbler’s “He”) regularly hitting the top of the charts. Things like that appealed to these deeply Christian countries: people wanted the Lord to be in every aspect of their lives. Then of course, rock and roll came along, and people suddenly discovered how carnal pop music could get. These days, love for pop music is defined differently than love for a deity. Love for God is pure, chaste, spiritual; love for music involves more carnal, heady emotions. You can’t get touchy-feely with God. That’s just wrong.

But that hasn’t stopped people from trying to bring the two together. Contemporary Christian rock/pop/whatever Kanye West is bringing out these days tries to have it both ways: appealing to God while disguising their love in modern terms. I’m no expert on that kind of thing, but apart from the slightly less overwrought prose and the modern arrangements, it still sounds fundamentally the same — musical adoration, full-on surrender. Small wonder that most churches are trying to hop onto the wagon: when I visit other churches these days, their Sunday service always features at least a set of drums, an enthusiastic guitarist, and a singer who always tries too hard. My more fundamentalist friends frown at such flippant approaches: the performance and the raucousness of the music, they say, take away from our devotion to God instead of adding to it. And I actually do think they have a point: for me, it’s hard to concentrate on the Lord when my emotions are being swayed by music. I spend too much time thinking about whether I’m hitting the right notes, whether I’m getting too caught up in my own euphoria. My thoughts are directed towards the vehicle, rather than the destination.

So it’s obvious: pop music has detached from religion. It is difficult, if not impossible, to reconcile their ideas of fulfilment. And as time has gone by, the world has shifted too: now whenever we seek to convey intense emotions in song, they need to feel heartfelt, and to be relatable. This is why most Christian rock songs fail commercially: not only are they struggling to restrain unfiltered thoughts with the same old terminology, but they’re also trying to convey a particular type of enthusiasm exclusive to believers. Both sides have been content to drift farther and farther from each other; as a result, whenever somebody tries to shoehorn in any religious themes in pop music, it now feels forced, a condescending attempt to lecture. And as we all know, Christians are terrible at recognizing that. 🙂

The interesting thing, though, is that there was a time when you could put faith in music without it feeling too preachy. In the late 1960s, there were people who managed to integrate religion and rock music without compromising on the quality of either. And who better to illustrate that than a member of the world’s biggest rock band?

Chapter 2: With My Love, I Can Save the World

By his own account, George Harrison first encountered the religion that would define his life and much of his oeuvre while filming the Beatles’ second film Help! in 1965. Having been given a book on yoga and meditation, George and his wife Pattie got deep into the Hare Krishna tradition very quickly, and you can track that spiritual and cultural progression throughout the discography of the Beatles — first it was just instruments, like on “Norwegian Wood” and “Love You To”, then George’s mind got filled with things to say, so we got songs like “Within You Without You” and “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”. But those were all generic contemplations on humanity, songs that basically told listeners to love each other and nothing more. Ironically, it was when George put down his Indian instruments and returned to his guitar that his faith began to flow with a vengeance.

The first real sign of this was probably 1969’s “Something”, the second track on the Beatles’ seminal Abbey Road album. The music video, which shows the four Beatles wandering around their homes with their spouses, makes the surface meaning clear: this is what it’s like to be ensconced in domestic bliss. No other lover can do this to me. (A point proven wrong when George went on to have an affair with Ringo’s wife Maureen, thereby singlehandedly destroying two of the four couples in this video.) But it’s not too hard to read it another way: late in his life, George said that he was thinking about Hindu deities instead of his wife Pattie when he wrote the song. Though I tend to view this with a pinch of salt, you don’t have to stretch your imagination too far to come to the same conclusion: when George sings, you can feel his desire, the intense yearning that he has for his subject. The lyrics are heartfelt, candid. Some days, I let myself think it’s the best Beatles song.

And yet behind all this, trouble was brewing. George simply wasn’t getting the respect he was due as a songwriter, even after he’d written the best track on the White Album. During recording sessions earlier that year, George had tried to debut a poignant, folkish song that sang of hope and the end of bad times. That song would later become “All Things Must Pass”, now widely regarded as a classic — but John Lennon (writer of famous mushy song “Imagine”) didn’t like it, refusing to play George’s chords until the latter stormed out. That departure, although temporary, was the beginning of the end for the Beatles: they slowly set up their solo projects, and began to assert themselves as artists in their own right. They each found their own little niche: Paul went lo-fi and indie, Ringo went acting, and John basically screamed for 39 minutes in his John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band.

George, on the other hand, had so much more to prove. Not only did he have ample room to demonstrate his songwriting now that he was free from the shadow of Lennon-McCartney, he also had a whole lot of religious fervour coursing through him. Most people would have chosen one or the other, but he didn’t: after all, he was George Harrison, freshly liberated from the biggest band in the world. He could have put out the sound of his farts as a recording and it would probably have gone to the top of the charts. But thank God — literally — that what came out was instead his sprawling 1970 magnum opus All Things Must Pass, a hefty triple album where George laid out in fascinating detail and lush melodies just how much he was in love with everything.

The song that everyone knows from this album is “My Sweet Lord”, both because of its devastating simplicity and because it was promptly accused of plagiarising the Chiffons’ earlier “He’s So Fine”. (Yes it does, and it’s all the better for it.) But that isn’t the only religious song on the excellent All Things Must Pass: even a mere glance at the song titles is enough to signal how strongly spiritual the whole album is. “Art of Dying”, “Hear Me Lord”, “Awaiting on You All” — this is not an album that satisfies itself with earthly pleasures. George wants more, and he wants to take us all along for the ride, too.

The year 1970 was a hot one for religious songs: in addition to the entirety of All Things Must Pass, we had Judy Collins’ haunting rendition of “Amazing Grace”, comedian Ray Stevens’ somewhat saccharine “Everything Is Beautiful”, and my personal favourite, Norman Greenbaum’s dazzling “Spirit in the Sky”. All of these songs don’t just name-drop God or salvation, they lean HEAVILY on the religiosity. You cannot possibly construe any of these songs to not be about Jesus.

Even the hits that weren’t religious felt like they had something to do with it: the Beatles’ own “Let It Be”, for example, or Simon and Garfunkel’s “Bridge over Troubled Water”. Apart from Collins, ALL of the songs in these two paragraphs hit #1 in the US or Australian charts in the span of five months. There must have been something in the air around the time the Beatles broke up that made every musician extremely preachy. This Beatlemaniac will accept no other reason.

There were a couple of things separating George Harrison’s songs from the bulk of these swooning songs though. Firstly, he was the only one to talk about a deity other than Jehovah: even though George was devoutly Hindu, the general principles behind faith mattered to him more than actually converting anybody, which made for a slightly more pantheistic version of God. And while almost everybody chose to frame their message with sweet and simple melodies, he stepped hard on the “rock” side of things. He was not afraid to shred his guitar while proclaiming his love for Vishnu — and he knew how to do it in an artful way, too. Which brings us to my actual favourite song from All Things Must Pass

Chapter 3: What I Feel, I Can’t Say

Having spent the last 2200 words (good Lord) writing about the struggle between religion and music, I must first make a confession: there’s a bit of confusion on whether “What Is Life” is, in fact, a song with religious overtones. Unlike “My Sweet Lord”, which repeats “hallelujah” and “Hare Krishna” over and over, there is no mention of God within the lyrics of this song. But to say that “What Is Life” is a pure love song feels wrong too — there are very few songs in All Things Must Pass that aren’t spiritual, and George at this point in his life was grasping every opportunity to Hare Krishna everybody. If we are to conclude that “What Is Life” is spiritual, then it does so in the vein of “Something”, as a disguised love song that can also be read as a song of praise.

But there are times when such a question becomes immaterial. We listen to songs not because we seek divine enlightenment, but because we want to hear something good. And when it comes to that, you could do worse than trust in one of the Beatles. (And I needed a springboard for my piece anyway, so it’s completely valid in my mind.)

Most songs that approach the subject of spiritual joy do so gently: after all, a dignified and pure subject deserves a dignified and pure approach. But that doesn’t capture the zeal of the newly-converted: when you’ve just committed to someone you love, be it a partner or a deity, everything feels rosier, and you approach life with a newfound vigour. You’re so glad, you’re telling all the world. And so that’s what happens on “What Is Life”: with a descending guitar line, the song announces itself exuberant and clear. It’s like the electric guitar has jolted you to life, and before you know it you are already taking flight, the adrenaline pumping through your veins as the drums kick in along with the orchestra, and everything blooms right before your eyes. Suddenly we realize: life can actually be this beautiful, colourful, radiant.

It’s so colourful, in fact, that it defies our efforts to describe it. That’s the thing about joy: some things are just too heavenly to put into words. And George knew this: after all, his reputation was that of the Quiet Beatle, the one who said little but felt a lot more than the people around him. (Spending years playing second fiddle to Lennon-McCartney does that to you.) And so, in spite of all the thundering drums and the resplendent brass, he finds himself dithering — “what I feel, I can’t say” are the first words we hear, halting and unsure. Not exactly true: it’s definitely love, it’s definitely happiness. But it’s all too much to be encapsulated with words: what if they doesn’t think it’s enough? What if they’re disappointed? So he’s quick to come up with a second line: “but my love is there for you any time of day”. Yet that itself is followed by a second reversal: “but if it’s not love that you need…” The doubt builds within him, a push and pull between confidence and insecurity. You feel that he’s the one in need of a bit of assurance.

That doubt carries on throughout the song: there aren’t a lot of lyrics in “What Is Life”. In four and a half minutes, George only utters six or seven unique lines. Perhaps it’s an evocation of that wordlessness, that struggle to find the right words to convey your love and your elation. Because George does that a lot: “My Sweet Lord” and “Something” in particular are also songs that don’t get through a lot of lyrics, instead utilizing music to lift you up to a higher plane. But whereas those songs take it slow, taking their time to feel, “What Is Life” rushes forth, exulting in its ultimate triumph. After he says “I’ll try my best to make everything succeed”, there’s a decisive roll of the drums — a sound that a critic once beautifully described as “romantic thunder”. It’s like you can hear the little nod the lover is giving right then. That tiny nod is enough, enough to burst the dam as multiple Georges surge forward and raise their voices in song.

At this point, I feel that it’s useful to point to the music video, commissioned for the album’s 2014 reissue and which features two ballet dancers finding each other while skipping their way round a San Francisco park. I’ve nothing against music videos, but I’m wary of buying into the narratives they try to project: the same old love stories, the same old twists, those get tiring and artificial after a while. But the video for “What Is Life” is wonderful in the way it brings out this process of discovery: our protagonist starts off stiff, expressionless, moving around all awkward. She stumbles a bit as she tries a few steps. But then as the song swells, so does she: she starts smiling, her movements become fluid, and the Sun peeks out from behind the trees. And then, just as George and his many doppelgangers holler “oh tell me, what is my life without your love? Tell me, who am I without you by my side?”, she takes a leap, two, and starts dancing with abandon. It’s almost as if that realization, that needy feeling, is powering her and giving her the time of her life. It really is one of the most joyous music videos I’ve ever watched.

But it’s not just the excitement these dancers portray that draw me in. I’ve spoken loads (well, mostly in one previous blogpost) about how fragility becomes communal, how a song gains beauty by reminding us of the humanity sitting at its centre. It’s a humanity (and a humility) that shows in “What Is Life” too — complete with a little twist. Because yes, that chorus is an admission of weakness, a confession that you are nothing without a lover. That action, of hanging your sense of self on somebody else, would normally be an objectively bad thing to admit — but George realises that there’s a way out of this potentially unsavoury conclusion. Witness the lines following the chorus: “what I know, I can do/ If I give my love now to everyone like you”. That defeat becomes energy, becomes a desire to better yourself. Imagination becomes reality, simply by sharing the joy, by making everybody as happy as you feel as well.

It works. The beat propels us along, immersing us in its unrelenting rhythm. We’re being swept away in that tide of excitement, the thrill of discovering how that joy operates. Because ultimately this song succeeds not because of the deceptively simple and sparse lyrics, or because of the narrative it seeks to communicate. As with the previous song I covered, it succeeds simply because George is having a very good time, and he’s inviting us to share it —

— and that’s an oddity in itself, because George didn’t like telling people to have a good time. Sure, he was a fun man to be with — he hung around with the Monty Python bunch, did the funniest songs as a solo Beatle. (For curious persons, have a listen to 1975’s “His Name is Legs (Ladies and Gentlemen)”.) But he was a man who enjoyed preaching, wanted to use his privilege for good. Every little word of his had to matter, had to bring out something profound. As many critics have pointed out, he was always reluctant to play the entertainer, or to pander to his audience. And yet on this song he does that: he puts the beats and the melody first and foremost, he allows us to dance with abandon. He makes falling in love with God sound fun. And I’ll talk more about that in a sec, but that’s something that not even “My Sweet Lord”, in all of its dizzying intoxication, was able to do.

The song shuts off. Our protagonist slows down, a look of doubt on her face. Is there something happen — barely two minutes in, it begins all over again: the same guitar riff, the same excited entrance. The joy of discovering love is something that can be visited, over and over again even though it’s the same old story, every time with fresher eyes and emboldened hearts. The chorus repeats for almost a minute and a half when we reach it, yet even after the song fades away, there’s something enchanting in George’s exhilaration that just makes us come back. We want to savour it another time, to continue learning about the new ways that we can’t live without our love. It’s just too good to leave be.

Chapter 4: Like A Prayer

But what about the religion? I spent more than two pages talking about the song, yet I haven’t even begun to talk about the ambiguity in this song. Because what I love about “What Is Life” (besides the bouncy tune, the music video, and the fact that it’s by my second-favourite Beatle) lies in the way it successfully disguises spirituality in its lyrics. I’ve mentioned the peculiar ambivalence of “What Is Life” within All Things Must Pass: the temptation to treat it as an intermission, a break from all the sermons/meditation sessions is strong.

Yet it doesn’t fit, especially when you remember that George has done similar stuff before. In chapter 2, I mentioned how George conveys spirituality disguised as a potential love song in “Something”. That was even more obviously a ballad for Pattie Boyd: the frequent references to “she”, the way she smiles and moves — that isn’t language you use for a deity, and yet the double-sidedness is there. It’s entirely probable. With “What Is Life”, that uncertainty kicks into overdrive: complete surrender, the feeling of being unable to not live a meaningful life without love from… a god? On the other hand: would you be so insecure about a god not needing your love? The interpretations seem to run everywhere. It’s legitimately impossible to come to a conclusion.

And yet. Perhaps it’s that ambiguity that draws me in. Because let’s face it, has any young person not gone through a phase where they thought their earthly love was the most important thing in their life? Those of us who’ve experienced terrifying crushes before, we know for a fact that the line between those two can be blurred. For that matter, our idolatry for earthly things sometimes reaches a level that even heavenly bodies cannot hope to attain — as I demonstrated in the intro. That’s the allure that comes from “What Is Life”: the confusion of eros (romantic love) with agape (unconditional love usually reserved for God) makes for a delicious quandary. When I listen to this song, part of me is enjoying the song and the feelings of love it gives me, yet there’s always a nagging voice at the back of my brain: what does it say about me, that I would willingly confuse the two?

But I can go further than that. For “What Is Life” doesn’t just probe into the way I differentiate between my loves, it also makes me think about the vehicle that’s being used here. This song is addictive; in fact the entire realm of popular music is addictive. I can lose myself in its lyrics for hours on end, I can write multiple essays on how the Beatles have affected my life. (Heck, I’m sacrificing time I might use for Bible study to write this very thinkpiece instead.) And yet it has been at least a year, possibly multiple, since I felt the same passion about the Christian God and all his miracles. I don’t mean to say that I’ve lost my faith: it’s just that my soul does not take flight for it the way it does when I listen to, say, “Spirit in the Sky”. (The irony is so thick here that I’m just gonna mention it and move on.)

“What Is Life” opens my eyes to that potential crisis, if one can call it that. I’ve posited above that religion and popular music both try to take you away to a world where everything is wonderful (or Beautiful): now I’m wondering whether I’m escaping into it too much for my own good at the cost of things that were good for you all along. I can trace the backsliding of my faith to late 2018/early 2019, and though it’s easy to chalk it up to the protests or the pandemic, I sometimes wonder if it’s my discovery of the Beatles (round about autumn 2018) that’s the main culprit for my loss of passion, substituting one for the other. Because anything, be it pop music or religion, can be an opiate if you can’t stop yourself from going back to it, and I don’t want to become so reliant on it that I start using it as a salve to all the world’s troubles. It’s that dependence — “what is my life without your love” — which troubles me as a believer: I know that beyond the lyrics of Norman Greenbaum or George Harrison that there is a real world their words of wisdom can’t solve for me, just as I am also aware that the Bible (despite its best intentions) may not hold the key to all of the world’s problems. But I’ve been raised to believe the latter, and the struggle IS real at times.

But is “What Is Life”’s only use to remind us how we drown our sorrows in a world where sex and horror are the new gods? There I draw the line, and my long dormant optimism genes come to life. At the end of the day, George, bless his cotton socks, was still a believer. Mere ambivalence about a woman or a deity wouldn’t be enough for him: there has to be something positive behind everything. When he sings those lines, it isn’t because he’s frightened of that spirituality or that level of passion. Rather, he embraces it head-on, allows it to fill him, and as I’ve said before, tries to make it a driving force in his life. He doesn’t really know where it’s taking him, but you stick around now, for it’ll definitely show. He’s giving his love to everyone like you, and for George Harrison that is enough.

Perhaps that’s the point of the ambiguity in “What Is Life” (and to a certain extent, “Something” as well). It was never about the deity or the girl: it was all about you the listener all along. For the fact is when I listen to these songs, I envy George’s devotion. I want to be him, even when he’s acting all sanctimonious, I wish I could believe in something that fervently. In those three or four minutes, he makes that joy accessible for you. And that’s where those two songs touch my heart the most.

Conclusion: I’d Have You Anytime

It’s no secret that in the battle between popular culture and religion, the latter is losing ground fast. You can see this in the charts: after a smattering of them in the 70s and 80s, no overtly religious song has made the top of the charts in Anglophone countries since U2’s yearning 1987 hit “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”. When subsequent songs — George Michael, Ariana Grande — mention God, it’s to use Him as a metaphor for love and sex, a handy byword for nirvanic ecstasy. Far be it from me to say whether this is appropriate, but this is definitely a cultural shift: we labour under the belief that even if there is a heavenly being watching us, a passionate engagement with each other, in body or in soul, is the best way to fulfil our days on Earth.

It’s a dilemma that “What Is Life” embodies well. You love something deeply, yet you’re unsure about whether you want to give yourself over to this new sensation, deity, call it what you want. You fear that you’ll slip and slide towards the Devil, somehow tarnishing yourself in the eyes of what you treasured most. Sure, you may want to please both, but as long as the other exists, it’s laughable to try to reconcile them: they’re both fighting for the exact same thing, and there really is only space for one at the top. But this is not a desirable ending, especially for a person of faith like me, so: let’s try to work this out.

Trying to come up with an adequate conclusion to this piece, I was reminded of something from the previous chapter. George’s song unsettles me because it’s so ambiguous: is he siding with eros or agape? Ambiguity is something we are terrified of: we like our results to be clear-cut, every mystery to be worked out. We have made entire industries (including, of course, the one I’m in) simply to clear up what a person means exactly in a throwaway remark they made many years ago. It seems that everything MUST have an explanation, and George’s refusal to explicitly side with one makes me somewhat curious, perhaps even afraid. But I wonder if I’m making too much out of nothing at all. After all, faith is in itself infinitely mysterious at times: as the good book itself states, it’s the “assurance about what we do not see”. I believe in a Christian God who does countless weird and terrible things, and has left them unexplained for millennia. Shouldn’t I try to extend that courtesy to this debate as well? I’ve been trying to learn from the Beatles in countless ways in the past couple of years: George’s confidence in leaving this conflict as it is, unsolved, is possibly yet another lesson that I need to get through.

What George and “What Is Life” teach me, then, is that rather than trying to fruitlessly chase the perfect balancing act, perhaps there’s another way out. Think back to the line “if I give my love now to everyone like you” — back then we wondered whether the point was in sharing the fruits of that transformation, in telling all the world. But maybe the truth at its heart is even simpler: that this is just a song of joy, one that realizes the wordlessness of conversion and tries to convey it to us in its own special way. Now, I am aware that saying “this song is perfectly simple and has no deeper meaning” after writing more than 5300 words will provoke furious howls from my audience, so let me qualify: it’s that feeling of unspeakable joy, of wanting to tell and retell the world, that matters to the former Beatle. If something makes you happy, then your mission is to simply love it, to embrace it with all your heart. There’s no fear in giving your love to the supposed “wrong recipient”.

And perhaps that’s why I write these semi-serious thinkpieces, that’s why I still find myself clinging on to my faith. Simply because they bring me joy, they bring me hope, that in spite of everything I still find them worthy of my attention, worthy enough in some cases to write so many words about. If you ask me, I’d still drop everything on hand for a good pop song, or to give others a few words of religious encouragement (even if I stop short of active proselytizing). I know how that ecstasy is just sometimes too much to be ignored, and I feel like telling all the world because of it. Finding a balance between pop and religion, as I said upstairs, is hard, and I don’t have perfect answers. I don’t think there’s gonna be any answers. This piece, on a song that brings out the best in loving something, was my attempt to find some path to love pop music without completely being distracted from my spiritual journey. God knows — literally — what we’ll find at the end. But until we all get through this thing called life, I’m happy to keep on figuring it out.

Happy birthday, George, you wonderful man.

(Cover copyrighted to Apple Records. “What Is Life” by George Harrison utilized for purposes of criticism and review.)

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