The Music Meme: Day 6

Day 6: A song you can always relate to

"Greetings to the New Brunette" by Billy Bragg

Billy Bragg's gift as a writer of love songs is his eye for detail; instead of making sweeping claims about the emotions he's feeling, he points out the tiny elements that tell the listener "Yeah, I've been there, too." Maybe you know the grand passions he feels, or maybe you don't, but by god you know what it's like to share ice cream, to look through a catalog, to argue about whose turn it is to vacuum, to throw stones in the river. Those familiar, specific images create a connection between listener and performer--the same connection so thoroughly explored and exploited by Whitman in "Crossing Brooklyn Ferry"--that too many songwriters don't even try for.

This 1986 track is an old, old favorite, and one that uses those images to capture the experiences and uncertainties of a young relationship that's growing older. It came out, as some of you may recall, the same year Kelly and I got married, and I'm pretty sure that fact has informed my appreciation for it. As our own relationship moved from its whirlwind phase (we got engaged about four months after we started dating, and got married about eleven months after that) into the steadier weather systems of marriage, we never failed to enjoy listening to this song and hearing someone else moving through the same climate. 

The "new brunette" is identified by some listeners as the couple's new baby, and I'm certainly prepared to see it that way, but even if it's not, I still found myself perfectly able to relate to the song when we became parents. The devotion the singer feels for his girl/his wife/his co-parent(?) and his willingness to share the passage of time with her? Yeah, I remember noticing those in my own heart. And I still do. Thanks for pointing those up, Billy.

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This page contains a single entry by Peter Cashwell published on August 11, 2017 6:13 AM.

The Music Meme: Day 5 was the previous entry in this blog.

The Music Meme: Day 7 is the next entry in this blog.

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