Sunday, July 8, 2012

I Don't Have a Choice, But I Still Choose You

Some songs I simply consider a masterclass in lyrics. It's almost never for an obvious reason. And with me, it's often for this strangely tangible reason that they make an unknown known. They invent a terminology (not the specific [or any] rhetorical device... Taylor... but the actual lyric) previously non-existent that gives us a new way of expressing the emotion of that experience. 

I've heard some folks just refer to it as metaphor-- and that's not untrue, but that's simplifying it-- as far as I'm concerned. It might be that. But it might be something more than that. Or something less than that. It might be use of paradox. Or just a contradicting mind, amplified with a snare drum and musical build that gives you everything you need to know. At the end of the day, it means: I have no idea what that means, except that I know exactly what that means.

The Civil Wars' "Poison & Wine" is one of the best examples of I can think of for this principle. And also for why, as a lyricist, I get hung up on particles. Why I meant and instead of but, that instead of when, etc etc. There's a difference. 

It's also one of the more apt vehicles I can think of to begin to discuss my relationship with men and love. I don't really understand men. Never. Have. At least when it comes to men and me. I've never been able to figure out from moment to moment what it is they want from me. And when I think about the connections that have really influenced me, this song is a good starting place. That slice between the rational, the instinct, and the emotional core of what you feel in spite of the rational,  the instinctual, and the circumstantial. 

I don't love you 
and I always will
I don't love you
but I always will
I always will

The difference between and and but. The space between what you know and what you feel, still, anyhow. The disconnect between the evidence and the emotion. It's not right, and yet,  you're still probably never going to get it out of your system. 

This song is effortless. And still manages to move the mountain. And in one deft move, I don't have a choice, but I still choose you. Mmm, that's what real love will always be to me, folks. 

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