Songs for Sound Minds #19 – ‘Any Road’ by George Harrison
‘If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.’
This may seem a statement of the blooming obvious if ever there was one. However, how many of us have wasted time on fruitless activities rather than identifying our priorities for the future?
Being unclear about our goals can leave us feeling frustrated, stressed and exhausted.
How much happier would we feel if we could summon the energy to clarify where we would like to be?
‘Any Road’ by George Harrison
‘Any Road’ released in 2003, was the last single by George Harrison. As ‘the quiet Beatle’ he was one of the ‘Fab Four’ who had so much influence on pop culture and contemporary life since their first hit back in 1962.
So what is George saying in this song that could help us understand our own mental health?
The element of chance
The song recognises that there is a natural element of chance in our lives but that embracing such an approach in every way has implications.
‘We pay the price with a spin of a wheel, with the roll of a dice.’
The suggestion is that a more conscious approach to decision making might result in fewer regrets. By leaving things to chance we are risking our own happiness.
Overcoming our own doubts and insecurities
It may be at times that if we want to achieve something we need to overcome our own doubts and lack of confidence.
As Harrison sings, ‘we’ve got to fight with the thoughts in the head, with the dark and the light’ – those fears, insecurities and anxieties that we all struggle with in varying degrees.
It is not enough to be clear about where we are going. We also need to realise that we may need to overcome the obstacles those fears and anxieties create.
Bringing East and West together
Much of George Harrison’s solo output attempted to integrate Eastern religion into Western life and this song is no exception.
His most famous solo song, ‘My Sweet Lord’ mixes the Judeo-Christian ‘Hallelujah’ with the Hindu ‘Hare Krishna.’
Harrison introduced his fellow band members, John, Paul and Ringo, to Transcendental Meditation in 1967 and, also, he had a life-long interest in the Hare Krishna movement.
In the song, ‘Any Road’ he presents themes common to Eastern faiths and beliefs.
‘There was no beginning, there is no end, it wasn’t born and never dies, there are no edges, there is no sides.’
Regardless of this philosophising, George concludes the song by reiterating his pragmatic refrain ‘but if you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.’
George Harrison and Alice in Wonderland
The song has been compared with Alice in Wonderland and in particular the conversation between Alice and the Cheshire Cat.
“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?” asks Alice.
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” replies the Cheshire Cat.
Having a sense of direction
It may seem, at times that life is as surreal as Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. We can ruminate on the whys and wherefores of life.
‘You may not know where you came from, may not know who you are,’ but there’s a lot to be gained from having a good sense of direction.
Otherwise, ‘If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.’
Songs For Sound Minds – music tracks written as an anthem to overcoming the storms of life. The songs that give hope in those times when we are struggling.