Monday, March 05, 2012

Just Another Sad Love Song Part Two

You can read Part One right here

Holy cow... I was flipping through the blog page, and realized I never finished this list, did I?  As my friend Dixon Brock would say, "I just want you to finish a (mild expletive deleted) list!"  So, here's Part Two of the Ten Saddest Songs, Like Ever Ever.

(10)... "How Can You Mend a Broken Heart" by Al Green
"How can you mend this broken man... how can a loser ever win?  Somebody please help me mend my broken heart, and let me live again..."

Such an easy song, really.  Right from the intro, with its slow, melodic piano, you know you are in for a world of hurt.  The Rev'rn Al Green begins and just rips your heart out, asking the hard questions, like "How exactly can you heal after being dropped like a bad habit?"  Questions like, "How in the world do you get over being played like a 50s record?"  Or even, "How many euphemisms can I use to prove my already proven point?"

Originally recorded by The Bee Gees in 1971, Rev'rn Green's version was done a year later, and much better.  I actually discovered this song from the excellent, yet much sadness abounding, soundtrack to one of my top 20 films of all time, "Notting Hill".

(9)... "I Can't Make You Love Me" by Bonnie Raitt
"I cant make you love me if you don't.  You can't make your heart feel something it won't.  Here in the dark, in these final hours, I will lay down my heart and I'll feel the power, but you won't.  No, you won't..."

From the amazing album "Luck of the Draw", this song is probably Raitt's signature song.  Essentially, its a lament about finally admitting, "Hey, I love you.  But I know now you don't love me, and I can't make it happen."  Such true words, eh?

Written in 1991 by a couple of dudes named Mike Reid and Allen Shamblin, the inspiration derived from a newspaper article that Reid stumbled across, concerning a court case where a guy got drunk and shot up the car of the chick who dumped him.  The man stood before the judge, who simply asked him if he'd learned anything, and the man replied, "Yeah, you can't make a girl love you if she don't."  Rolling Stone listed this at #331 on their 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, while Mojo Magazine ranked it as high at #8.

Full disclosure, this isn't one of my favorite songs.  I appreciate it enough to probably rank it among the 500 songs that I would consider "The Best Songs Ever", and I like it well enough, but if I did a list of 500 songs that I considered not necessarily the best, but actually my favorites, I'm not sure it would rank on the list.  However, this countdown is a list of the Saddest Songs Ever, not d$'s Favorite Songs Ever, and it does deserve this high of a ranking here.

Bonnie, if its any consolation, your tune "Not the Only One" has ranked as my fourth favorite song of all time for a decade--and "Nick of Time" is in the Top 50.  So there.

(8)... "One Last Cry" by Brian McKnight
"My shattered dreams and broken hearts, still mending on the shelf.  I saw you, holding hands, standing close to someone else.  Now I sit all alone, wishing all my feelings were gone... gotta get over you, nothing for me to do.. but have one last cry..."

What?  In love with a chick, but not only does she not love you (anymore?), but you have to stand there and watch her hold hands with another dude?  Watch her get cozy with some loser who ain't you?  Holy crap, stick a sharpened bamboo rod between my fingers and burn me with bad whiskey.  No joke.  I do like the fact that the singer is essentially saying, "Enough... I've cried enough.  So I'm giving this chick on more cry, one LAST cry before I move on."  But you kinda get the sense that tomorrow with be another last cry.  And the next day is one more last cry.  And so it goes.

Brian McKnight went on to have some bigger success, most notably with his signature song "Back At One", which my buddy Mikey liked to call "1-2-3-4", though I corrected him by telling him that "1-2-3-4" is a song by Feist, while "1-2-3" is actually by Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine, but "Back at One" is McKnight.  He had no clue.

Here's what I wrote on the original list in 2006:   Maybe this is just here because as I sat all alone, I saw Allison Hodnett standing very close to John Glasscock, holding hands at the Troy weekly movie, one day after she asked ME to the movie, then promptly stood me up. Hey, it was in 1994, but it still sucked. okay, I wasn't all alone, I think I went with Michelle Dudley, but still. 

(7)... "Here We Are" by Gloria Estefan
"And no one knows whats going on inside, and all the love I feel for you is something I should hide... when I have you close to me, the feeling's so sublime... but there's nothing I can do... to keep from loving you."

Featured on "Cuts Both Ways" and sans the Sound Machine, Estefan belts out one of the true love songs of the ages.  A little underrated, and underlistenedto (is that a word?  it is now...), its by far and away my favorite of her many great tunes.  Its a little reminscent of the #12th saddest song ever, "I'll Be Okay", in that this chick is in love with her best friend, but in this case, I think he likes her too.

So, its a happy song about two people who dig each other right? Oh nay!  Nay nay!

Maybe they were making it work, but for some reason, it ain't working now.  "Here we are once again, but this time we're only friends.  Funny words, sometimes lies, become the game when loves the prize..."  So is it better to have never known what it was like to be loved by the one you want, or to have loved and now you are without, knowing what you missed?  A question that perhaps deserves an answer, but will likely never have one.  Sad.

(6)... "King of Pain" by The Police, as performed unplugged by Alanis Morissette
"I have stood here before inside the pouring rain, with the world turning circles running round my brain, I guess I'll always hope that you'll end this reign, but its my destiny to be the king of pain..."

Dark, complicated, sad... three words to describe this song.  Using random terms like "salmon frozen in a waterfall" and "blind men looking for a shadow of doubt", the only real lyric you need is "I'll always hope that you'll end this reign, but its my destiny to be the king of pain."  Meaning "I'm hopeful that you'll love me too, but its fairly apparent I'm going to be in pain because of you.  Such pain, I am the King of all those in pain.  That much pain.  Darn you, woman."

Yes, yes, The Police are usually solid, and typical reinterpretations of their music aren't as good (see: Daddy, Puff with "I'll Be Missing You"--good song, not as good as "Every Breath You Take"), but when Alanis Morissette tackled this on her live unplugged concert for MTV, it was awesome.

I'll be honest... Sting likes to write songs that are complicated.  Instead of just saying what he means, he likes to use metaphors and alliteration and other fancy Englishy terms to get his point across.  For what end?  He said himself, "I conjured up symbols of pain and related them to my soul.  A black spot on the sun struck me as being a very painful image."

In fact, Sting--or Gordon Sumner--was an English teacher in a former life, which might explain his expressions and use of such language in his songs.  Matter of fact, I randomly looked up the phrase "a skeleton choking on a crust of bread", and discovered:  In medieval England, when an individual was accused of a crime, he or she was given a piece of cheese and consecrated bread to eat to prove guilt or innocence. If the individual was guilty, he would choke on the bread when the Angel Gabriel came down from Heaven to stop his or her throat.  Thus the oath many would utter was, "May I choke if this is not true." 

And the line "There's a king on a throne with his eyes torn out..." -- could that be an Oedipus reference?  And the line, "There's a rich man sleeping on a golden bed..." -- a King Midas reference?  And did I spend way too much time thinking about this?  Yes.  Yes I did.

Don't even get me started on "Fortress of Your Heart"... "and if I built this fortress around your heart, encircled it with trenches and barbed wire... let me build a bridge, for I cannot fill this chasm, let me set the battlements on fire..."  What?  Who uses the word "chasm" in a song?  What the...?

Where was I?  Oh yeah... well, I'll finish this soon enough.  Then, I'll knock out that list of the 100 Coolest Things of 2011, hopefully by November.  I promise.  Keep checking back.

1 comment:

  1. Hello, Dave:

    Sorry to leave this in a comment, but I couldn't find another way to contact you.

    This is a fun, funny blog and I'm glad to see you're on the right side of things, politically. I'm writing to ask if you would be interested in a guest post. You have a Birmingham-area congressman in serious, well-deserved trouble for re-election. I work with an organization determined to help his opponent.

    Please contact me at smith (dot) m (dot) g (at) att (dot) net as soon as you can. I'd be happy to talk with you via Skype or telephone as well.



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