Saturday, 14 May 2016

Songs that made me: No.1 "(It's hard) letting you go" - Bon Jovi

Growing up is ridiculous. The teenage years, in particular seem the hardest. Clearly that is not the case, as we all learn. But the angst that accompanies the hormones during this time tries to convince us otherwise. Mainly because we haven't learned to harness our emotions.

I was a very angry, sensitive kid.At least, this is what an impersonal person with an impersonal view would have made of me. I would have argued that I was, in fact - a passionate kid. I love music (obviously) and I tend to gravitate towards highly emotive music, particularly that of the lyrical variety.

I wasn't born into the most blessed family, financially, (like many people - this is no sob story). Not that we were ever left wanting, by the way, I'm confident my mother would have sold the clothes off her back for us if the need had ever arose! But I saw so many kids grossly spoilt in school that I used to get privately pissed off in my own self important teenage thoughts. So the library was my kingdom, my own personal paradise, a refuge even. Because they lent out.... cassettes. Cassettes, I could never afford to buy!

It was circa 1995/1996. I was on the verge of secondary school and a tape caught my eye. It was pretty new: These Days by Bon Jovi. They weren't cool to the Oasis / Blur heads of the day. But I was never one for following the crowd and I thought "those boys aren't too bad" and borrowed it. I recorded it to keep and fell in love with the album. I couldn't stop listening to it, but I always fast forwarded past number 8. I barely made it five seconds into it before I'd had enough. One night I was out walking with my walkman (no pun intended) and I listened to the song and I was hooked. Never had a song hooked me as it did. It was so visceral, so honest. A cry from the depths of the soul. And all this from a man who couldn't pass a mirror without appreciating his own reflection, as all music critics agreed. And let's face it, critics are always right....

Nowadays I still love this song. The opening verse sounds like a man in mourning for the death of someone, more than love lost - the subject of the song. So I tend to associate the song with any type of loss and it's good to listen to when I'm feeling sad. I've always enjoyed saying "any man can write a song about love, but it takes a real man to mean it." Who knows maybe it'll be my epitaph!

My favourite lines are "Now some tarot card shark said I'll draw you a heart, we'll find you somebody else new. Well I made my last trip to those carnival lips, when I bet all that I had on you." Even the great Tom Waits would struggle to write a line like that. So here it is. Just a great, honest to goodness lament about lost love. Part 1 in my "Songs that made me" list,

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