What is a song? It's a companion. It's a lover. Or it feels more like a brother. A song can remind you of something. It can be the thing itself. It might tie a group together. Or cause it to split apart. It's somewhere you can go. A song is a hammer. It's the bag of nails.
A song is both all of these things and none of them; it's different every time. It's like a river. You can't identify a river just by the water. It'll be gone in an instant, swept away by itself. But you know it by that place, that set of contours that gives shape to the water, where it all comes crashing through.
These four had been in my "drawer" for a few years. I thought the statute of limitations had expired. But unlike most in their condition, they kept angling to be brought out. Each feels like an impression. Cast from what, I'm not sure. My memories around them are scattered. Mostly I recall formal models: Alex Chilton's diction, part of a Sufjan Stevens Christmas song, a bowdlerized standard. Not to mention an alliteration fixation, out of which that song somehow emerged. Eventually, it seems, you mostly remember the songs.