Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Tears Dry On Their Own (or, My Breakup Theme Song)

A wonderful thing about music is that it can take on a very personal meaning or role unique to an individual alone. Sometimes a song can bring back memories as evocatively as a particular scent, be they good ones, poignant ones, humorous ones, or sad ones. Pop music in particular is useful in certain significant times, moments or events in a person's life: why else would so many couples have "our song," or wedding dj's scour the world for the perfect track for a first dance, or the recent breakup victim find solace or strength in one of any number of tunes appropriate for the desired reaction, be it sadness, anger or reaffirmation of strength.



As it happens, even the most resolutely anti-romantic smiling singles among us, including your humble blog author, can unwittingly or reluctantly find themselves, sometimes quite suddenly, in that last category, despite what seem like one's best efforts to avoid getting in deep enough that someone could have the power to place them there, even after seven solid years of comfortable conscientious objector status. As difficult and unfamiliar as the emotions may be, though, I am a pop music blogger, and damned if I'm not going to use that fact in whatever way I can to help guide me through the breakup mires as quickly and effectively as possible, and to the most positive extent it can as well. Therefore I naturally spent a bit of thought on finding a song that could most appropriately summarize, symbolize, and proselytize the whole unfortunate affair, mentally flipping first through some of the lighter ballads (I've done the heavy ballad breakup once...about seven years ago).

But not even the more optimistic laments seemed to really capture the true spirit of the moment, it being for me as rare and blind-sided as it has been; instead, my thoughts turned toward an atypically positive tune by an artist also not immediately obvious in my endeavor, and instantly I knew I had it. Sure, few singers today can warble about pain as believably and realistically as Amy Winehouse, but it wasn't one of the more despairing tracks from the great album Back to Black I knew was my winning ticket. No, if I were to sing from my heart this evening it would come out something like the amiable and knowing "Tears Dry On Their Own." Set over the accompaniment to the celebratory 60's love duet "Ain't No Mountain High Enough," "Tears Dry On Their Own" reads the way a rationalist who still appreciates at least the notion of (fictional) romance would approach the end of a love story.

So, like the mega-beehived British chanteuse in the song's loveable music video, I must work on getting out of the hotel room and walking down Hollywood Boulevard again with the same acceptance and open-minded hope as the track promotes. It's my cathartic way of saying goodbye to a person and a relationship I enjoyed. And why shouldn't I carry my headphones along with me as I do so?


"Tears Dry On Their Own"
Amy Winehouse
Back to Black
(Republic, 2007)
Lyrics by Amy Winehouse, 2006

All I can ever be to you
Is a darkness that we knew,
And this regret I've got accustomed to.
Once it was so right,
When we were at our high,
Waiting for you in the hotel at night,
I knew I hadn't met my match,
But every moment we could snatch,
I don't know why I got so attached.
It's my responsibility;
And you don't owe nothing to me,
But to walk away I have no capacity.

He walks away;
The sun goes down;
He takes the day but I'm grown.
And in your way, in this blue shade
My tears dry on their own,

I don't understand:
Why do I stress a man
When there's so many bigger things at hand?
We could a never had it all,
We had to hit a wall,
So this is inevitable withdrawal.
Even if I stop wanting you,
A perspective pushes through:
I'll be some next man's other woman soon.

I shouldn't play myself again,
I should just be my own best friend,
Not fuck myself in the head with stupid men.

I wish I could say no regrets,
And no emotional debts,
Cause as we kiss goodbye the sun sets.
So we are history.
The shadow covers me;
The sky above a blaze that only lovers see.

He walks away,

The sun goes down,
He takes the day but I'm grown,
And in you way,
My deep shade,
My tears dry on their own.

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