Saturday, March 24, 2012

Friday Jukebox Saturday Edition: Like Nashville With A Tan

I wanted to post this yesterday because it came across the radio late one afternoon and reminded me of the way it made me fell back in the late Nineties when it was in heavy rotation on the FM Radio.
In case you don't know the backstory, the guy who did this is someone named "Shawn Mullins", who may very well be the poster boy for one-hit wonders. This is pretty much it.

I was going through a divorce at the time, and I was feeling sorry for myself. Even though reasons 1 through 99 my ex was leaving had to do with that I had been a lazy git, and a self-absorbed dick, and she had finally had enough of my nonsense and left.

But aside from the sob factor something in this little song always got me; maybe it was the horrifying grimness of the story he tells in it, the relentless misery of this wretched woman in this shitty little bar who is out of ideas and hope, and the guy on stage who doesn't have an answer, either...until the chorus.

And then, well, everything's gonna be all right. Right? Because...because...well, everything's gonna be all right.

And it seemed to me then, and it seems to me still, that this goofy little song isn't a bad theme song for our lives, most of us. We know that all around us is the stuff of tragedy, or at least bad melodrama. Poverty, cruelty, misery, unhappiness of every sort and color, pain, death, loneliness, the end of all our hopes and dreams. Non-alcoholic beer. Vengeful tax auditors. Divorce. Cancer.

But those are just the cold and dark outside our window, always there, always waiting.

Inside it's warm, and light, and there's love and hope, and those we care for around us. And if we look away from the black panes long enough, and pretend hard enough we can almost believe that those evils will not touch us; that the Angel of Death will see the blood of our sacrifices on the lintel and pass us by.

And, like the song says - the happy part, the catchy part, the part you want to believe - everything's gonna be all right.

And you know what? Maybe that's not such a bad way to live.

So let's take that chorus to the bridge, and peer over the railing there, and throw our dreams into the water.

And let the stream take them far away.


Lisa said...

"Non-alcoholic beer"? Perish the thought ;)

I don't remember the tune, but that's a good interpretation. It sounded to me like a mash up of Lou Reed's spoken word -- something like "Walk on the Wild Side" -- + the generic happy hook that reminds me of something which I can't access just know. So maybe it's that dissonance that makes it compelling, and of course, we all know how well we ;like to do cognitive dissonance.

FDChief said...

Intriguing, isn't it? Kind of along the lines of all happy families being the same while unhappy families are unhappy each in their own peculiar way.

Which, BTW, I think is Tolstoy being intentionally obtuse. I'm say, rather, that happiness is elusive and peculiar to the individual(s) while often unhappiness revolves around the same boring old things; money, health, work, sex, kids.

Every time I listen to this tune I keep thinking that the guy's speaking voice sounds like Jack Nicholson. Dunno why. But it does.

BigFred said...

The singer did a tour with the Ranger Regiment, if I have my history correct. I worked with his older brother, who is a Navy Frogman of some renown, and I love that song.

Lisa said...

Nicholson ... I can hear that in both the tone and the hint of superciliousness, or perhaps, menace (?)

I like your take on Tolstoy's statement. Yes, the unhappy are usually unhappy in the same banal ways for the same banal reasons. To be happy seems the lesser part of the day for most, and the really unique thing to achieve.

There's nothing special about being unhappy or discontent, is there?

It is so nice, I wanted to share a bit of Juan Cole's trans. of The Rubaiyat which he posted 3.25:

Omar Khayyam (71)

Now that the rose of your
good fortune is blooming,
why are you standing there
with no glass in your hand?
Have some wine–
fate is a treacherous enemy,
And a day like this
is hard to come by.

Translated by Juan Cole

FDChief said...

Lisa: Definitely menace. Mockery - in between crooning his pretty song he's telling her that if she believes his sunny happy chorus of how everything's gonna be all right she's worse than a fool, that she's watching open-eyed as she continues walking the road to Hell. Like a pilgrim on the road to Basra, she's trapped in her life and will have to see it out to the bloody conclusion - just is the Wheel, swerving not a hair, forgiving and foregoing nothing, not for the slightest mercy.

And all we can do is keep going and believe that somehow we'll be one of the lucky ones...

But I've talked about this before; how although I may believe that the world in general is going to hell - or IS in hell - I still whistle along through my own little patch of it, treasuring the good moments, grieving over the bad ones, and thinking all the while that my life isn't really all THAT bad, because a day like this is, indeed, hard to come by.

Lisa said...

Yes, it's the mockery of a predictable faux-tragic-bored life juxtaposed with lilting upbeat that makes the song compelling; the predictability of her life facing the crooner's impotence to amend it, but he gets to play Superhero for the minute, but he knows he's really not.

It is a good song because it gives us a few layers without lies, despite the lyrical lie of the refrain.