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Track Review

Deep down, I think most of us want to be heroes. I mean, what else could possibly explain our cultural love affair with comic books and the spandex-wearing do-gooders they've inspired?

But superheroes are hardly a creation of the last 100 years or so. Oh, no. Before Superman, Spider-Man and Batman captured our imagination, there were pantheons of mythological beings who, when you think about it, weren't really that much different than superheroes.

And yet, deep down, most of us also realize that we're not heroes. We're ordinary. We're regular. We struggle with flaws and insecurities that we go to great lengths to mask.

It's no wonder, perhaps, that some part of us gets confused about these realities when it comes to love. We think that we have to be heroic to give another human being the love that they need, even though we suspect we can't really live up to that lofty promise.

Now, lest you think I've taken a left turn at Albuquerque and forgotten that I'm writing a review of the new collaboration by the American DJ duo dubbed The Chainsmokers and England's Coldplay, well, let me assure you that I have not. In fact, this tension—between the courageous heroes we long to be and the mundane mortals we know that we are—is exactly the subject of "Something Just Like This."

Wanting What We Already Have

Coldplay frontman Chris Martin dives right into this jarring juxtaposition. "I've been reading books of old," he begins, "The legends and myths." Which ones, you wonder? Martin tells us: "Achilles and his gold/Hercules and his gifts/Spider-Man's control/And Batman with his fists."

Then, the rub: "And I clearly don't see myself upon that list."

The good news—and it really is good news in this context—is that the unnamed significant other whom Martin's singing to (or perhaps confessing to) isn't looking for him on that list. "She said, 'Where do you want to go?/How much do you want to risk?/I'm not looking for somebody/With some superhuman gifts/Some superhero/Some fairytale bliss."

So what does she want? Something a bit more down to earth: "Just something I can turn to/Somebody I can kiss/ …. Somebody I can miss." In other words, she wisely wants what this couple already has: "I want something just like this." And her first two questions above—"Where do you want to go?/How much do you want to risk?—suggest that she's wide open to a meaningful adventure that they can share together, not some fantasy that has no correlation with reality.

Unconditional Love … In the Real World

In just a handful of lines, The Chainsmokers and Coldplay get at one of the biggest potential problems in any relationship: the distance between our idealized longings and the messy, broken reality of who we really are.

What I love about the woman's response to Martin's insecurities is her gentle, unconditional love. She doesn't chastise him for his anxieties. She doesn't expect him to live up to heroic greatness in the way he's defined it. Instead, she quietly suggests that they can experience a deep and meaningful love, in the real world, if they can dream a bit with each other. What do they want to risk? Where do they want to go? And—I think it's implied—how can they do that together?

Those are terrific questions. And answering them as a couple might help two people embrace a life together that's actually pretty heroic after all … minus the tights, of course.

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