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Song of the Week: John Prine’s “I Remember Everything” Offers One Last Goodbye

It's fitting that such a great lyricist should have the final word on his remarkable life

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    Song of the Week breaks down and talks about the song we just can’t get out of our head each week. Find these songs and more on our Spotify New Sounds playlist.

    Artists and fans have been searching for the right way to say goodbye to John Prine and gain closure ever since the beloved songwriter passed away in April due to COVID-19. There has since been an outpouring of heartfelt messages, wishes, and tributes from around the world. Here at Consequence of Sound, we put on our own Instagram festival for Prine, which featured artists like John Darnielle, Colin Meloy, and Norah Jones and benefitted several charities handpicked by Prine’s family. As recently as Thursday night, celebrities like Bill Murray and Stephen Colbert joined artists such as Kacey Musgraves and Sturgill Simpson in a livestream event celebrating Prine. It often brings out the best of us when we take time to honor the best of us, and the outpouring of love and appreciation for Prine has been one of the more uplifting developments during a confusing few months, though, of course, it stems from extremely sad circumstances.

    As it turns out, Prine himself, one of our most gifted lyricists, has provided the words many of us have been searching for in his final recorded song: “I Remember Everything”. The song, like so many of Prine’s, uses simple language and melody (and even a bit of humor about “a guitar out of tune”) to get at something universal about ourselves. As we all try to make sense of an increasingly complicated world around us, Prine’s song reminds us that all of this will one day be behind us. Our memories may be tinged with sadness over what we’ve lost, an air of humility might come over us as we look back at our mistakes, and we shouldn’t be surprised if something as simple as a blade of grass or a smile that warms us still comes to mind because they are as much a part of our journey as anything else.

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    Since he puts it better than almost any of us can, we’ll let John Prine have the last words on a remarkable life:

    I’ve been down this road before
    I remember every tree
    Every single blade of grass
    Holds a special place for me
    And I remember every town
    And every hotel room
    And every song I ever sang
    On a guitar out of tune

    I remember everything
    Things I can’t forget
    The way you turned and smiled on me
    On the night that we first met
    And I remember every night
    Your ocean eyes of blue
    How I miss you in the morning light
    Like roses miss the dew

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    I’ve been down this road before
    Alone as I can be
    Careful not to let my past
    Go sneaking up on me
    Got no future in my happiness
    Though, regrets are very few
    Sometimes a little tenderness
    Was the best that I could do

    I remember everything
    Things I can’t forget
    Swimming pools of butterflies
    That slipped right through the net
    And I remember every night
    Your ocean eyes of blue
    How I miss you in the morning light
    Like roses miss the dew

    How I miss you in the morning light
    Like roses miss the dew


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