Wednesday, January 07, 2004

The Carpenters - "I Need To Be In Love"

In Bridget Jones' Diary, Bridget wallows in romantic self-pity by listening to All By Myself at obnoxious volume. This is a totally relatable moment, though I don't listen to much Jamie O'Neal. My song of choice is I Need To Be In Love. Before I get to any lyrical content, check out that title. It's not I want to be in love. It's I need to be in love. Right there it doesn't seem like this is going to be a level-headed affair.

But actually it kind of is. That's the beauty. In my mind, this song is the ultimate for romantic losers, because you've got overdramatics, but they're balanced by a certain weary pragmatism.

The opening line indicates a certain degree of rationality: "The hardest thing I've ever done is keep believing there's someone in this crazy world for me." But as the song goes on we get such "poor me" sentiments as: "it took awhile for me to learn / that nothin' comes for free / the price I've paid is high enough for me," and "so here I am with pockets full of good intentions/ but none of them will comfort me tonight / I'm wide awake at 4 a.m. / without a friend in sight."

But the best is the chorus.

"I know I need to be in love
I know I've wasted too much time
I know I ask perfection of a quite imperfect world
And fool enough to think that's what I'll find"

Those of you who have never had trouble making romantic connections will have to trust me when I say that these lines perfectly describe what it feels like when your love jones is on the fritz.

In typical Carpenters fashion, the music ushers the proceedings along with delicate piano, sweeping strings, and Karen Carpenter's jaw-dropping voice; a voice that feels to me like wrapping up tight in a warm blanket. It's just what you need when your world is feeling a little cold.

Album: A Kind Of Hush (1976)
Fave moment: The final chorus, where the drama has built to its zenith and you have no choice but to close your eyes, throw your arms out Broadway style, and sing along.

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