One of my oldest friends, Sendil, had a quick trip to Chicago this weekend, his new lady-friend in tow. Sendil and I go way back – more than two decades – here’s proof! That’s him, far left, with the Members Only jacket. Forgivable for 1991. I’m in the middle, rocking the too-big suede jacket and overly curled mushroom haircut. Not as forgivable. Nor is the alien/phallic/Halloween-themed-in-September balloon hat rising out of the background.
Here we are, older, wiser, and more attractive (even in workout gear), running the Chicago Gay Pride 5K in June. (Sendil isn’t gay, not that there’s anything wrong with that, but I don’t want to crush his game unnecessarily).
The combination of Sendil’s visit and the main event of the weekend – an amazing, musically progressive Sting concert – got me thinking about the power a songwriter can wield over the object of his or her affection. Seriously, what lady wouldn’t like to be told that ‘Every little thing [you do] is magic?’
Sendil – always purely a platonic friend – is the only guy to have ever serenaded me. But to be clear, it was at a high-school talent show, I was pulled up on stage with no warning (while wearing a tucked-in flannel and jean skirt, as I recall), and the song directed my way was ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic’s ‘Good Enough for Now,’ which features such lyrics as:
You’re pretty close to what I’ve always hoped for
That’s why my love for you is fairly strong
And I swear I’m never gonna leave you, darlin’
At least ’til something better comes along
‘Cause you’re sort of everything I ever wanted
You’re not perfect, but I love you anyhow
You’re the woman that I’ve always dreamed of
Well, not really…but you’re good enough for now
Still, it was nice just to be included.
While every girl dreams of being serenaded (like, for real), only the rare and the proud ever reach that utmost pinnacle of rock-and-roll legend: the songwriting muse. Pattie Boyd. Dave Coulier. Pattie Boyd. Warren Beatty or whoever. Rosanna Arquette. Pattie Boyd. Damn, girl.
Note that the songs written for women are earnest and sweet (save the hints of sarcasm in ‘Wonderful Tonight.’) ‘You Oughta Know’ and ‘You’re So Vain,’ however? Skew heavily toward the bitterness side of the scale. Ladies be crazy.
Other than perhaps a mean-spirited parody or two in fifth grade, I must say I don’t think a song has ever been written about me. But here are a few lines I wish had been:
Dizzy, Goo Goo Dolls
You’re cynical and beautiful
You always make a scene
You’re monochrome, delerious
You’re nothing that you seem
I’m drownin’ in your vanity
Your laugh is a disease
You’re dirty and you’re sweet
You know you’re everything to me
This isn’t even that complimentary. Cynical, vain, unpredictable, potentially misleading. And yet the stanza wraps with a “you’re everything to me” despite it all.
Rio, Duran Duran
You know you’re something special
And you look like you’re the best
So she’s confident, right? The titular heroine of the song already knows she is one of many special things but the singer assures her that she is, in fact the best.
Ain’t That Unusual, Goo Goo Dolls
See I’d love to be you
‘Cause at least then I’d see you
Yes, another GGD song. It’s a sickness. Probably because singer/songwriter Johnny Rzeznik and I were BFFs for about nine seconds once:
This line is so gut-wrenchingly pathetic that you just have to laugh. And then cry. And then curl up in the fetal position with a bag of pita chips.
Love Song, The Cure
Whenever I’m alone with you
You make me feel like I am fun again
Was Robert Smith ever fun, really? Still a sweet sentiment.
Ladies (and gents), what song lyric do you like to pretend was penned about you? I’m really hoping here that no one quotes ‘The Purple People Eater.’