Revisited: “This Is How We Walk on the Moon” by Arthur Russell
Here’s an excerpt from an email I sent to a friend in Berlin describing my reaction to Arthur Russel’s “This is how we walk on the moon.” It’s a little more lucid than my previous post on the song.
Heard this song a few nights ago and started crying. It’s about taking small steps until you finally get to the moon. The instruments (a cello, some horns), his voice and the lyrics are so powerful. By the time the song was over, I was sobbing.
When I got home, I looked him up. Found out the song is from the 80s. He wrote it after he discovered he was HIV positive. You know I’m a big softie, so of course I started crying again.
There is something sad yet inspirational about the song. It’s haunting. I downloaded more music from his discography and it’s set me on this creative, insomniac spin.
It also made me realize that true art–that is, art that is an authentic and real expression of the human condition–can affect, influence and inspire people. It’s a reminder that you don’t have to follow the rules to have an impact; no matter how avant garde or unknown you are, if you are real, you’ll always connect with someone.
And here’s the song, again: