During the spring of my junior year of college, I listened to Huey Lewis nonstop. One day, while working on the campus newspaper, I was sorting through the shared music of the local club offices and put on “I Want A New Drug.” The song was an apt anthem for how I felt about the guy I was seeing at the time, both for the obvious reasons, and for reasons I don’t dare mention on the Internet. I decided I needed to own Huey Lewis & The News’ Greatest Hits.
As things progressed with the guy I was seeing, I discovered that Huey Lewis had a song for every stage in a relationship. There was “Power of Love” for the happier days, and “If This Is It,” for when things started getting bad. Right after it was over, “So Little Kindness” was there to assure me that I wasn’t the only one who thought it was perplexing how quickly so much passion, interest and civility could dissolve.
After that came “I Never Think About You.”
This song from Plan B isn’t on Greatest Hits – I think I dug it up online somewhere. As much as I loved a lot of the Huey Lewis & the News songs I was listening to, I listened to “I Never Think About You” more than any of the others. I spent a summer as something of a recluse (I was house sitting for some friends), driving around and belting this song while I zipped down a freeway with the windows open. It really did make me feel better, and I became convinced that with this song, I could throw it all behind me. Then one day I realized I had some of the lyrics wrong.
The chorus goes, “Now I’m living by myself without a care in the world / I never think about you / And I’m happy as I’ve ever been — well, I pretend I am / I never think about you.” In my version, that third line went, “And I’m as happy as I’ve ever been — without pretending I am.” This makes for a huge change in the song’s message. In actuality, Lewis thinks about this person all the time and is singing all this for show, where I had thought he was genuine. I probably should’ve guessed I was hearing it wrong, because it’s not exactly a happy song. I suppose I just assumed that he was sad to see it all go, like that quote from Swingers I love so much.
Realizing I had the lyrics wrong, I was forced to confront that maybe I really wasn’t over this person, that I did think about them all the time, and perhaps I was just fooling myself, same as Huey Lewis. There were already more than enough songs that reminded me of them, and I had just added one more.
But knowing that didn’t change how damn good it made me feel to listen to the song. So I kept on singing the wrong lyrics anyhow.