Monday, February 04, 2008

Music Monday

I had a great response to my request for what I came to call "kiss-off" songs. In fact, I had one that is so awesome . . . I'm not going to use it, but I will mention it a bit later. Anyway, I do believe that I shall turn to you, dear readers, in the future as we mine thematic music posts. I think it's a lot more fun than me putting up all the stuff in my own music library anyway.

In the fall of 1991, a couple friends of mine revealed a wonderful ability to take lyrical cliches about love, reverse them, and toss them out as fodder not just for laughs, but for some serious thoughts. They presented a composition, "I'm tired of co-dependent love songs" (that word, co-dependent, was in the air back then). It included the thoughts, "I can smile without you/I can live if living is without you". Whether we are instigating a break-up, or reached the point in the grieving process where a combination of anger and resilience is giving us the opportunity to breathe again, we are helped, sometimes, by musicians who give to us the words we might not have to say to our former paramours. First up, "Let's Call it Off" by Peter Bjorn & John", short, simple, to the point:

This is the ultimate kiss-off song. It is also, in many ways, a wonderful ode to the power women can find within themselves given half a chance. Of course, now it can be seen as bit trite, even silly, but you know what? The sentiments are so clear, the message so strong, I don't care. This is Gloria Gaynor, and if you have to ask the title, you need to take a basic music appreciation course:

A bit of personal info on the next song is required. In the fall of 1987, I was involved with a young woman, and we seemed to be cruising to the future together. Except, of course, we really weren't. For one thing, we were both far too young. For another, in my own case, I was far too immature for the kind of commitment she was asking for. Had we made the disastrous choice to stay together, she would have been miserable (I am clear-eyed enough now to admit that, at 22 years old, I was a poor choice for any woman; I needed some more seasoning, some more living to make myself less unacceptable). That fall, however, I was the miserable one, but I didn't quite know how to get out from under the stone that was weighing me down (if that sounds horrible, well, tough; neither one of us were really good for the other, and I think we both knew it). In the midst of my own angst (which wouldn't be completely relieved for another year; yes, I'm a chicken-heart) came "Don't Shed A Tear" by Paul Carrack, the opening lines of which go, "Cab fare to nowhere is what you are/A white line to an exit sign is what you are". The chorus includes the lines, "Don't shed a tear for me/My life won't end without you/Long as the night will be/The sun will rise without you."

I only hope she hasn't found this blog.

Honorable mention should go to Alanis Morisette's "You Oughta Know", described as "I'm so over you that I'd probably run you over with a car" by Alan, who suggested it (kudos to him, and many thanks). To be honest, and I hate to admit this, I didn't even think of that song, but it certainly belongs in any list of kiss-off songs out there.

Next week, we mine the depths of . . . songs about death.

Virtual Tin Cup

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