I’ve always had good insight into other people’s relationships. I could figure out their friction points in seconds. I knew the friction points in my own relationships too, but acting on them was another matter entirely. I may have known in my heart that ____ and I were not going to work out, but that didn’t mean I was ready to call it quits. Stupid heart, getting in the way of head.
“Well, it’s not for me to say
But I can’t see what you see in him anyway
But such righteousness in me
Is not a nice thing to display
And who am I, for crissakes, anyway
Oh, to judge a life this way
When my own’s in disarray…”
It would be a great understatement to say that those words spoke to me.
It always amazed me how Ben Watt and Tracey Thorn – who were so protective of their private lives that for years they wouldn’t even acknowledge that they were a couple, never mind a married couple – were capable writing such devastating relationship songs. And they wrote a ton of them: “Cross My Heart,” “Tears All Over Town,” “Walking Wounded,” the list goes on and on. (Don’t be surprised if “Shadow on a Harvest Moon” pops up in this column down the road.) How could a happy couple plunge the depths of despair so realistically? Aren’t these songs supposed to be born out of pain and misery?
“So it’s not for me to say
‘Cause I change my mind from day to day
And when I look at you
I only see bits of myself, anyway
So go on, stop listening to me…”
After I was finished wallowing in self-pity, I realized that this song was telling me to keep my fool mouth shut when it came to other people’s relationships. Insight is great and all, but it’s worthless if you don’t use it to fix your own problems first. A couple years after this song came out, I decided to fix my “problem.” (This is not to say that she was the sole reason the relationship didn’t work. We were a collective problem.) No surprise, my life has been awesome ever since. Huh, maybe that was Tracey’s goal after all; pretend to be sad in order to lure sad people into taking charge of their lives and being happy. That sounds like something a happily married person would do. Thanks for the kick in the pants, Tracey. Now pleasepleasepleaseplease make another EBTG album. It’s been nine years…and, ahem, 12 years since the last one I really liked.