Talking about SWEET JANE with my father-in-law

Maybe I’ve had an extremely blessed existence, or something, but any song I’d choose as “Best Love Song Ever” would highlight unbearable happiness as well as the unbearable pain but I allow that may just be me. Love’s a two-sided coin, and any “Best Love Song Ever” would have to hit both sides, for me.

My choice for “Best Love Song Ever” would be the Velvet Underground’s “Sweet Jane,” mainly because at three minutes long, it paradoxically sounds epic. Much like despite being married to Mimi for almost fifteen years but still incongruously thinking of her as my girlfriend, or having a clear memory of every year of Walker’s life but still remembering the day he was born like it was yesterday, “Sweet Jane” tells of regular, everyday joes having just flat-out fun. Bankers and clerks can find joy with each other in what others might contend to be humdrum lives; but personal happiness isn’t really a call for outside observers to make, is it?

I dunno; these sorts of things always descend into author’s-intent discussions, which you all will excuse me from having with my family as I spend a lot of my day having-but-trying-not-to with my audience. Sometimes a good song unearths a universal truth, and sometimes it just rocks and sometimes it’s just both. Like love. Sometimes you’re unbearably happy and sometimes you’re unbearably unhappy; it’s still love.

As a listener, I’m going to respond to Lou Reed’s juxtaposition of two folks in love, against a world of nay-sayers:

Some people they like to go out dancin’
and other people like us they have to work.
And there’s even some evil mothers…
Well, there gonna tell you that everything is just dirt
You know, that women never really faint
and that villains always blink their eyes…
that children are the only ones who blush
and that life is just to die.

But anyone who ever had a heart
they wouldn’t turn around and break it.
And anyone who ever played a part
they wouldn’t turn around and hate it.

And the way Lou sings: just short of treacly lyrics honestly delivered… but with a half-hearted snarl. Love is a two-sided coin; focus on the unbearable love and you’re listening to oatmeal on the Top 40; focus on unbearable pain, and you’re weeping by the radio. Wise folks split the difference.

I dunno; maybe I’m just a Libra with balanced scales.

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