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Sat, 23 Feb 2008

The Awful Truth of Loving

This song is right at the middle of 2003's Long Knives Drawn. With it, this blog moves forward into the twenty-first century. We'll see how long that lasts. You can listen to the song. If you can't follow that link, just go to and sign up for their free trial.

The official lyrics are missing the words in bold and have instead the words in strikeout:

I want it to be sweet, so you won't (don't) disappoint me.

The official lyrics give a message of strength, but that's not the real feeling of the song. Take these questions:

Should I be with you?
Should I forget about me?

The first could be good, but the second one is a terrible idea. It's self-effacing. If "all the new thinking" (a reference to self-help?) "is about individuality," then to counter that you can forget about yourself. But I think that's the wrong approach; for thinking about loving, the opposite of "individuality" is thinking of a couple as two people together. I'm sure a couple of people reading this blog can attest to how doomed a manner of thinking that is.

At the end, in the third repeat of the reprise, I swear I hear this slipped in:

And all that you're thinking
is about individuality.

I like the metaphor of peaches bruised by falling. (So might Christian fundamentalists, I suppose.) It's appropriate for her feelings of powerlessness: she can see the beautiful imagined relationship, but it's never that perfect by the time she gets into it. I also like the internal rhyme, "And by the time / you bide your time."

One of the things that makes the song so great for me is these lines toward the end:

and when the stakes are high
I'm careless with the dice

The singer seems desperate, "pushing [her] luck all the time," but when I sing these lines to myself, I feel empowered. Choosing to be careless with the dice makes me feel like the things that worry me aren't so important, and being able to feel lighter about things helps me worry less and do more. It's also a great line to harmonize against. (-:

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