It’s time once again for “Twisted Mixed Tape Tuesdays”, a blog hop sponsored by Jen Kehl over at My Twisted View. Check out some of the others, why don’t ya?
RIGHT NEXT DOOR (BECAUSE OF ME)
When I saw the theme this week, “Your Cheating Heart”, songs about cheating, I immediately thought of the Robert Cray song, Right Next Door (Because of Me). It’s one of my favorite songs, from one of my most listened to albums of that time period. Back in the day Robert Cray was “da bomb”, boys and girls. DA BOMB!
Bluesy and guitar-driven, this selection is as instrumentally gripping as it is lyrically compelling. It tells the tale of a “player” — long before that term existed — from “the player’s” perspective.
He seduces his neighbor, not because he’s all that interested in her, but because, well, she’s there and he’s “such a strong persuader”. While he realizes that she’s “gonna lose the man that really loves her”, Cray croons that she was “just another notch on his guitar”.
It’s a great song AND a cautionary tale.
YOU’LL THINK OF ME
I never deliberately listen to country music. I am, however, exposed to my fair share of it at work. Once in a while they pipe in a good one. Keith Urban’s You’ll Think of Me falls into that category and it’s worthy of a listen. (Or a hundred of them — whatevs!)
It’s pretty catchy. Mr. Urban can sing and the lyrics are both pointed and funny. It starts out all kind of “feel sorry for me, I got my heart broken”, but quickly becomes a real “fuck you, bitch” song.
Take your cap
But leave my sweater
We’ve got nothin’ left to weather
Yup. Take your shit and keep it moving. Pretty good advice, if you ask me!
I WANNA LEARN A LOVE SONG
Harry Chapin applied the theme of the unhappily married woman and the unlikely hero who makes her feel better about herself most famously in Taxi, but he did it in this song, too. In this case the main character is a guitar teacher, rather than a cab driver.
I’ve always loved this song. In it, Mr. Chapin manages to seamlessly juxtapose her unhappiness with her desire to “learn a love song, filled with happy things”. It’s clear from the outset that she wants more than a song from our hero.
That he, in the end, gives her a love song all her own and that she manages to teach him a thing or two? Well, that makes everyone happy, doesn’t it? It sure made Harry happy — he claims that this is how he met his wife! Knowing this adds a whole new dimension to the song. Who doesn’t love a happy ending?
It took another man’s wife
In the real world life
To make this boy a man
BUST YOUR WINDOWS
I first heard this song on an episode of “Glee”. I loved it immediately. It’s the ultimate break-up fantasy/revenge song!
I love how it starts out like a tango. (I initially mistook it, when I heard the first few bars, for The Tango Maureen from “Rent”) The tango beat is so perfect for the angry lyrics. So perfect!
I love how Jazmine Sullivan is so unapologetic. She approaches the destruction of her boyfriend’s car with bragadaccio as she tells her deserving victim, “I bust the windows out your car/After I saw you laying next to her”.
She’s broken-hearted AND she’s pissed off. So, she smashes his windows — with a crowbar. We find out that she then uses this same tool to carve her initials into the car’s finish. She won’t be forgotten. Her lesson about “playing with people’s feelings” will be hard to ignore.
I’m not normally the type of person to applaud property damage, but in this case, I make an exception. Whenever I hear this song I can’t help but smile and think, “You go, girlfriend!”
SKY BLUE AND BLACK
This last one was a toss-up, I had originally planned on using The Eagles’ Lyin’ Eyes because it so clearly fits the category, but Jackson Browne’s Sky Blue and Black kept nagging at me.
As much as I like The Eagles, and I like them a hell of a lot, I’ve never particularly cared for Lyin’ Eyes. Sky Blue and Black, on the other hand, is one of my favorite songs of all time.
I’ve always considered it a ‘cheating” song, as opposed to just a “break-up” song. Of course, it’s not ‘just’ either. It’s a whole lot more than the sum of its parts.
It’s plaintive, it’s spare, the lyrics are quintessentially Jackson — lyrics like “I hear the sounds of the world where we played/And the far too simple beauty of the promises we made”. I’ve always loved that line. This song has always been, at least for me, a more grown-up version of Late For the Sky . There’s no surprise, no incredulousness. It’s just over. It is what it is. He captures, as no one else quite can, the fragility of relationships.
Love and loss have long been themes in Jackson’s music. He’s been covering this ground for a lot of years. From classics like Doctor My Eyes and Late For the Sky to the lesser-known In the Shape of a Heart and Tender Is the Night, Jackson has always explored the tenuous nature of love. The remnants, the ruins — those are his specialties.
Jackson, like many a great poet, doesn’t hit you over the head. He makes you think. He alludes to things, he doesn’t spell them out. While we can disagree as to whether or not this is a “cheating” vs. a “break-up” song, I would argue that it is in the line, “To have put away my pride and just come through for you somehow” and the way he sings it that lead me to believe that it falls in to the former category.
This is a blog hop! So, get hopping!
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NOTES on my selections:
1. Right Next Door (Because of Me), Robert Cray, Strong Persuader (Dennis Walker, Robert Cray) 1986
2. You’ll Think of Me, Keith Urban, Golden Road (Darrell Brown, Dennis Matkosky, Ty Lacy) 2002
3. I Wanna Learn a Love Song, Harry Chapin, Verities and Balderdash (Harry Chapin) 1974
4. Bust Your Windows, Jazmine Sullivan, Fearless (Jazmine Sullivan, Salaam Remi) 2008
5. Lyin’ Eyes, The Eagles, One of These Nights (Don Henley, Glenn Frey) 1975
5. Sky Blue and Black, Jackson Browne, I’m Alive (Jackson Browne) 1993