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Saturday, March 09, 2013

You know that I shouldn't

Growing up, like all kids, I listened to the music that the grown ups played in the house. Once my mom married her second husband, Bill, his rather lugubrious musical tastes -- Gordon Lightfoot, Leonard Cohen, Cat Stevens, John Fucking Denver, all those folksie male vocalists that so drearified the late 70s -- dominated my domestic musical landscape. We occasionally got a hit of something more upbeat (if brainless) when Bill was in one of his rare good moods and he'd throw some Olivia Newton-John or Abba into the old eight track, but for the most part, the Bill Era was all about the Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, Aye, Calypso, I Sing To Your Spirit, that goddam Peace Train, and Little Boxes on the motherfucking Hillside. Oh yes.


But prior to that, it had been pretty much my mother's musical tastes, which ran strongly - or weakly, whatever - to a sort of Greatest Girl Singers of the 60s vibe -- Twiggy, Dusty Springfield, Janis Joplin, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Carole King, Joanie Mitchell, Joan Baez, and the ever loving Mamas and the Papas.

Now, there's no knocking some of this -- Carole King's TAPESTRY may be the best set of tracks ever set into wax. And I can listen to "Midnight Train to Georgia" or "Me and Bobbie McGee" all day long.

And I've always been fond of the Mamas & the Papas. "California Dreamin'" has to be one of the greatest pop ditties ever recorded, and there's not too much else by them that I won't at least tap my foot along with when it comes on an oldies channel.

So imagine my surprise when I heard "I Saw Her Again" on the break room oldies station at work the other day, and for the first time in my life, heard the lyrics clearly and realized... wow. Despite how it sounds when you're not really listening, this is no upbeat love song:


I saw her again last night,

And you know that I shouldn't

Just string her along; it's just not right

If I couldn't I wouldn't.

But what can I do; I'm lonely too.

And it makes me feel so good to know

She'll never leave me.



I'm in way over my head;

Now she thinks that I love her (yeah, yeah)

Because that's what I said

Though I never think of her.

(No, no, never think of her)



But what can I do? I'm lonely too.

And it makes me feel so good to know

(And it makes me feel so good to know...)

She'll never leave me.



Every time I see that girl,

You know I wanna lay down and die.

But I really need that girl

Though I'm living a lie;

(Though I'm living a lie...)

It makes me wanna cry



I saw her again last night,

And you know that I shouldn't

Just string her along; it's just not right.

If I couldn't then I wouldn't,

But what can I do, I'm lonely too.

And it makes me feel so good to know

She'll never leave me.

(to know...know)



But what can I do? I'm lonely too.

Yeah, and it makes me feel so good to know

She'll never leave me.



Every time I see that girl,

You know I wanna lay down and die.

But I really need that girl

Though I'm living a lie

(Though I'm living a lie...)

It makes me wanna cry.



I saw her...

I saw her again last night.

And you know that I shouldn't (no, no)

Just string her along; it's just not right.

If I couldn't, I wouldn't;

I'm in way over my head (you say...)

Now she thinks that I love her (yeah, yeah)

Because that's what I said...



Whoa. That's some dark, DARK shit there. No wonder the guy who co-wrote it turned out to be fucking his own kid.

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