What’s a “10/10?”

Is it a good melody, or meaningful lyrics? Maybe it’s a certain riff or hook. Perhaps it’s great production? Or maybe it’s just all in your head: you’re hearing a recording and having an illogical, yet undeniable emotion.

I’d never felt so alone and discouraged as I did in the early summer of 2008. And it was rapidly spiraling. Everything was going wrong, and although I was proactively seeking help for my depression, nothing was helping. I couldn’t sleep and would spend hours doing the precursor to what we now call “doomscrolling:” stepping up and down purposelessly on the remote through 80 channels. The equivalent of eating terrible fast-food, even when you aren’t hungry, and you know it’s doing more harm than good.

But one night, I fortuitously landed at the exact moment when a TV commercial was starting. Some guys from a band that I knew existed but didn’t follow were on screen, belting out a song that I’d never heard before. It jolted me to attention like a cold bucket of water to the face. And after only 30 seconds, it was over.  

Later during the dead quiet hours of the early morning, it replayed over and over in my head. And when I finally drifted off, it was right there again, and for the rest of the day. And the next.  

I could chalk the whole thing all up to a phase, I suppose. But that was around the time when things began to look a little more hopeful. I felt better, and a little more motivated every day. And “Viva La Vida” kept me company all summer, and through the fall, and the winter as well. The oddest of battle cries; I am aware.


And logically: this all means nothing. I was down and began to come out of it. Simple stuff. It’s Occam’s Razor in play. Random, inadvertent intervention from Steve Jobs and some guys from London happened one night, and I’ve managed to convince myself that there is an association.

I don’t care. This record inspires and cheers me up every time I hear it. To this very day. I’m grateful that it exists. It’s a 10/10 for me. I guess I just don’t know exactly why it came to me when it did.

For some reason, I can’t explain, indeed.