12 May, 2009

Say You Won't



Babe, you looked

At that man

And the month is May.

His eyes are blue

And you......

Say you won't.


How the hell

A good man lives

In a world so strange

What you would like

To do.....

Say you won't.


You've got a right 

To go....

His eyes are blue

Yeah you

May not go.



He is shining

Up his shoes

For he knows you'll see

His eyes are blue

And you.....

Say you won't.


Things are warming

Up outside

And the month is May

The sky is blue

And you.....

Say you won't.


Babe your picking

Out that dress

And your friends all say

He's pretty cute

And you.....

Say you won't.

His eyes are blue

And you.....

Say you won't. 

 


Gee, I wonder what this song is about.  


Some folks say it's so slender it isn't even a song.


I had a Korean (female and very attractive) roommate (housemate) once who said something similar about me.


This song reflects something that happens in any relationship with enough length in it to cause two people to know one another rather well.  It usually isn't as exaggerated as this, but hey... that's show business.  


What actually inspired the song wasn't the teasing subject of infidelity at all, but rather the way I sing the first two stanzas.  I was singing one night just for fun, and I sang this line, just sort of mumbled it, but was astonished at the way it sounded.  It's a line that begins swinging and low toned and then takes a couple leaps to punch a high, high note ("say") then arpeggios down to a mid range note.  I thought it sounded like a great intro to a song.  So I recorded it.  In truth it is a bit redundant in this song.  On and on and on.  But you know what's funny...  I can change it  if I like.  Or throw it away.  Or change one letter.  Or steal the first line to open an entirely different song.  Bruce Springsteen did this numerous times with a number of themes in Nebraska.  It always kinda annoys me--but then why do I still listen?


"How the hell a good man lives in a world so strange?" is easily answered by taking a good look in the mirror and asking one question and one question alone: here's the problem... it has to be honest.  Otherwise you could just pretend you are a victim.  





5 comments:

Jenny said...

Hi Andy,

By some reason, the words, rhythm and the instrumentation I imagined while reading this song made me think of an incantation. There is something suggestive about it. Poetry and music are often inseparable, I think.

I appreciate that you write about the text's meaning. For some reason, I hardly do that myself for my own writing, even though I hint at it in comments.

Honesty, you mention here at the end. After having read more of your work, I can see that this is an ingredient in your work and that is something I appreciate a lot.

So glad to have found your pages, Andy!

Andy Coffey said...

Jenny,

You know, honesty wasn't something I was born with. And it took a lot of lying, for me to get to the point where I even wanted to think about what was coming out of my mouth. If my personhood is as valuable as other people's seem to be, than half the usefulness of writing is the way it makes me think, before I "speak." So "me" instead of my "training" and fear is given a chance in the conversation. Even if it's with myself!

Incantation is more or less a nice way of putting a repetitiveness, don't you think!

Jenny said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jenny said...

Hi again,

Incantation for me is a magical word, so I did mean it in a nice way. In Swedish it is "besvärjelse" and I had to look up the English word for it.

Many good and bad songs tend to repeat lines. Really alike old rituals, I guess.

Andy Coffey said...

Jenny,

I took your comment (to say nothing of your reading my songs) as very kind indeed. I love the fact that incantation came into your mind in your native tongue as (I have no idea how to type it properly): "besvarjelse."

Incantation is a wonderful word, in many, many ways. Perhaps I was projecting, I have always loved the way the song sounds, probably more than the words. A strange tension for a singer/ songwriter. There's another song I wrote called "The Devil Beats His Wife" where at the beginning I write, "Look away, look away you goddamned fool." And an even additional level of tension there is that "look away" is a feature in many race tinged songs from the Jim Crow American South. So it's domestic violence, white guilt, and the ecstasy, somehow, of song...
Poetry and music are inseparable. As is being human, and singing.