SONG TITLE: I FEEL LIKE A BULLET (IN THE GUN OF ROBERT FORD)
PERFORMER: ELTON JOHN
SONGWRITER: ELTON JOHN, BERNIE TAUPIN
YEAR OF RELEASE: 1975
SONG TITLE: NOTHING COMPARES TO YOU
PERFORMER: SINEAD O'CONNOR
YEAR OF RELEASE: 1990
COMMENTS: These may be the purest and most effective examples of classic aching teenage first heartbreak ballads ever. See, these songs still evince surprise or bewilderment at romantic loss, a particular quality that is lost on most people with age - we're more or less expecting to get screwed. (Other candidates in this category might include "Troy" by Sinead O'Connor, "Condition of the Heart" by Prince, or "Girl" by the Beatles.) These are maybe disparagingly called pop songs, because they doesn't have any loud (or even quiet) guitars or a hard beat, but that seems like an odd label for something so firmly packed with earnest sadness. In it's bad use, "pop" records would to me mean blandly positive nothingness pre-fabricated to sell to dumb teenage girls, ie Olivia Newton John, Mariah Carey. These others, however, are really describing feelings - they're soul music.
The lyrics of "Bullet" are pure teenage poetry. You can accuse Taupin of writing in way too many metaphors (3 completely different visual metaphors in the first 5 lines alone), but that would be a likely response from this lovesick fool, how a heartbroken teenage poet would really speak. He broke up with his longtime steady because it was just "time to throw in my hand for a new set of cards." Of course, immediately he sees the error of his thoughts, but it is too late - the damage has been done. Now there's nothing to do but cry.
The words of "Nothing Compares" really sound like someone just learning the ropes. "It's been se-ven hou-ours and fiften days..... since you took your love away." By the time you get a little older, you will likely have figured out that this is an awful burden, counting losses by the hours. Surely this is the slowest hip hop beat I ever heard. The hurt just drips off these beats. Ah, it's sad, I tell you.
I really dig these big, open, slow flowing melodies. There is time in these beats to properly emphasize or develop phrases, and space between them to let them hang until the impact sinks in fully. "You know...I-can't-think straight no more,...you make me feel...you make me feel like a bul-let, honey, in the gun... in the gun of Ro-bert Ford"
Oh, it hurts so good.
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