“Joey” by Concrete Blonde (1989)

5 09 2008

I could listen to this song every day.  For medicinal purposes.  It’s an achingly beautiful song that drives into grief and fear and loneliness, with a final declaration that just lifts the world off my shoulders.  An admission that human relationships are messy and never really like what you see in a Disney movie.

Concrete Blonde contains two of my favorite musicians:  Johnette Napolitano (vocals/bass) and James Mankey (guitar).  Johnette (if I may call her that) has extraordinary pipes, and I could listen to her voice forever.  She can convey vulnerability one moment, then pitiless outrage the next.  James’s guitars sound fantastic, both the tones and the parts he’s playing.  Very layered, very integral to the overall sound, and very very tasty.

So let this song remind you, when you’re confused about friends or lovers or relatives, that it takes work.  Those who thrill you the most can also be the ones who disappoint you the most (the proverbial thin line between love and hate).  But that’s okay, because we realize we’re not perfect, and we’re just trying to make the best of things.  I think, as this song conveys to me, that there is great hope for us, not because we can point fingers at each other, but because we can realize our own role in bad situations.  And maybe even admit mistakes, and try to do better next time.  Like how Johnette ends the song to her estranged friend/lover Joey:

“But if it’s love you’re looking for

Then I can give a little more

And if you’re somewhere drunk and passed out on the floor

Oh, Joey, I’m not angry anymore.”

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