Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Don Henley is the devil

Janet is right. Don Henley is an alien. No human can write like that. I think he's the devil. I hate him. I hate him for his songs that make me hurt so damn much. Just when you think it's safe, she hands me the chord chart to The Heart of the Matter. I know, I know all about this song. I know all about a few of Henley's songs. Hotel California. The Boys of Summer. The End of Innocence. The Last Worthless Evening.

Yeah. If these songs don't put you on the psychiatrist’s couch, you'll definitely reach for the bottle.

He writes about people when they're the most vulnerable. When they are so damn defenseless after they're hearts have been wrecked, not broken. Wrecked. Crisis. Code Red. And if you get it, you're so defenseless and vulnerable against what he writes about. Real heartache and loss.

There was a point in my marriage when Boys of Summer was my theme song. The end of summer. On the Cape. Nobody on the beach. Summer's out of reach. Sun. Sand. She had her sunglasses on baby. And I didn't know what happened. I still don't know.

now i don't understand what happened to our love
now baby gonna get you back
gonna show you what I'm made of...

I can see you
your brown skin shining in the sun
you got your top pulled down,
radio on baby

and I can tell you
my love for you will still be strong
after the boys of summer have gone.

The End of Innocence just skins alive any father who leaves his kids, leaving you raw and flayed. Rubbing salt in the wound.

Remember when the days were long
And rolled beneath a deep blue sky
Didn't have a care in the world
With mommy and daddy standing by
When happily ever after fails
And we've been poisoned by these fairy tales
The lawyers dwell on small details
Since daddy had to fly

And forgiveness. The Heart of the Matter. Every line is so true. About learning an old lover who hurt you is with someone new. How the anger eats you up.

And how about:

I'm learning to live without you now
But I miss you sometimes
The more I know, the less I understand
All the things I thought I knew, I'm learning again
I've been tryin' to get down
To the heart of the matter
But my will gets weak
And my thoughts seem to scatter
But I think it's about forgiveness

Such a desperate plea for help.

And finally, The Last Worthless Evening. You know she's out there again. All the wolves and you know she's not the brightest bulb, and to hell with the feminists, sometimes women need a little protection. And without going into any dangerous waters, sometimes they like a little protection, too. (Hell, men do, too, truth be told.) And you'd like to be the one to give it, but some other guy is going to do it instead.

Yeah, this is real wrist-slashing stuff. This stuff stuns you and leaves you slack-jaw and boils the blood because this is everything you wanted to forget because it proves just what a coward you are.


WJ Shaffer said...

Don Henley definitely knows how to sing to a broken heart...there was a lengthy period where "The Heart of the Matter" was MY theme song. And it WAS about forgiveness. First, it was my theme song because the ache inside had to be addressed by me, 'cause it wouldn't go away by any other means. Then, suddenly, the one I missed was gone not just from me, but from the world. The ache inside went overnight from unbearable to unremitting agony.

But no one can express the agony quite as beautifully as Don Henley.

You are clearly a lyrics person...I highly recommend listening to some Krista Detor. My bet is that you will fall in love with her music and never go another day without listening... You can find her easily enough if you're interested...her name is her website and her myspace page. Her voice and her lyrics are spectacular.

John Greiner-Ferris said...

yeah, i'm a writer by trade so the words mean a lot to me...thanks for the tip re: Krista Detor. I love getting turned on to new music...

Willa Shaffer said...

When you've listened to Krista, let me know what you think. I've turned into a house concert junkie (even started my own) for independent singer-songwriters, and my first time hearing Krista was live in concert in someone's HOUSE. I was positively blown away, and have everything she's ever written memorized and can't get enough of it. Her new CD comes out in April, I got a pre-release copy, and the collection of songs on it will send chills down your spine. Interestingly, she and Carrie Newcomer both are Bloomington, Indiana ladies, are friends, share a writer's circle monthly with other songwriters in the area, and are good friends. Carrie speaks highly of Krista's music wherever she goes, and Krista will open for several of Carrie's concerts, since both have the new albums. They're quite the astonishing pair, and both -- in very different ways -- are exceptional songwriters, vocalists, and musicians. I look forward to having your thoughts.

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