Submitting to my irrational dislike for odd numbers, I’m only going to post one song for this week’s chapter of my 1000 Minutes Project. Rest assured, however, I’m kicking myself for not having posted it earlier on – it’s just that good. I’ll even throw in an alternate version of it, but that version isn’t part of the project.
The beginning of the song is fairly innocuous; the guitar starts, then the rest of the band shuffles in one-by-one, until the moment it all comes together after about twenty-four seconds.
The music is more upbeat than the lyrical matter should allow, but it has a boozy feeling about it. A night of drinking, an ill-advised cab ride to his former significant other’s house, and we pick up the one-sided conversation.
It’s pleading, a little embarrassing to watch, but there’s nothing that we, the listeners, can do to stop it. It’s the last thing you’ve always wanted to say to a now-ex, that last ditch effort to get yourself back in his/her good graces. And while the entreaty may have had an affect on the other person, ultimately, it’s fruitless. The storyteller is left to wander the nameless streets, wallowing in the past.
The song is powerful – one of my favorites of all time. The subject is instantly relatable, because it’s an experience that most of us have had. It’s honest about the end of a relationship, about the wrenching feeling that accompanies such a loss. It doesn’t treat the other person poorly; it doesn’t call names; it’s decidedly adult. It ends without resolution, without closure, because it’s rare that that is ever achieved in these situations.
It fades out slowly, and ends sparsely. A couple of final plinking notes on a piano are the unpronounced end to a grand, albeit futile, gesture.
(This version has a different introduction, and a couple additional lyrics. The strings from the album version are absent, but the song doesn’t lack for it. It’s just a different retelling.)