May 17, 2005

Sometimes, the truth hurts. Sometimes, the truth heals. Sometimes, you aren’t quite sure which one it is doing. In any case, here are a few different takes on the subject.

The Go-Betweens- A Bad Debt Follows You

Our poor narrator is starstruck and clearly is deeply in love. He has also been made some promises, and as the chorus of, “I won’t stand/I won’t wait” bubbles up, it becomes clear that he is growing increasingly wary that said promises are not going to be kept, or perhaps even that they were lies. When the song finally climaxes with the rush of the lines, “You told me stars would fall/You told me ice would melt/You told me everything/Now and again” it isn’t anger or impatience he’s putting across—just simple, heartbreaking disappointment as the truth of the situation finally comes into focus for him. Goddamn, I feel for the guy. What a supremely well-constructed song.

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The Wedding Present- Be Honest

“This is all because you didn’t like my Mum”—one of my favorite opening lines ever! The album this is taken from—1989’s Bizarro—is all angry guitar clatter and jealousy and confusion and miscommunication and distortion pedals and lover’s spats and bumping into exes and impossibly fast strummed guitars. Yet it’s here, in the quiet aftermath of the album’s final track, with the begging plea for short, brutal honesty that the emotional impact finally hits home with a sickening silence. Tear it off quick, like a band-aid. It won’t hurt as much that way. Have mercy and just tell me now.

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The Kinks- When I Turn Off The Living Room Lights

Sometimes, brutal honesty can be loving and absurdly sweet, and here in the deft hands of Ray Davies, it is also hilarious. You know he loves his wife—but he can’t be bothered to lie to her now, after all this time, so he pads the truth with darkness and excuses (my favorite is, “It helps to keep me cool”) and perhaps a bit of desperate need. The message that I get? Love conquers all—even the ugly truth.

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The styPod | 8:00 am

2 Responses to “Truth and/or Consequences (Todd Hutlock)”
  1. Alfred Soto Says:

    I’ve been waiting years for someone to mention that Go-Be’s song, Todd. I luf you.

  2. beth ann camp Says:

    Holy shit, is this THE Todd Hutlock?

 
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