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Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Words For The Ages, Line Nine

"All that you're loved is all that you own." - Tom Waits (from "Take It With Me")

Of the lyrics chosen to date for this series, the one above comes from arguably the least well known song I've thus far used. The link below is for those who'd like to see all the lyrics for this great tune.


Tom Waits is more widely known as the composer of terrific songs covered by others (e.g. Ol' 55 by the Eagles, Jersey Girl by Bruce Springsteen, Downtown Train by Rod Stewart, etc.) than he is for his own idiosyncratic recordings. I first heard "Take It With Me" on a recording by Anne Sofie von Otter and clearly recall how moved I was by the poignant lyric. I especially like the phrasing in the middle of each "A" section.

It's possible I'd have chosen a different Tom Waits phrase - he's such a wise lyricist - if I hadn't just recently cried my way through "The Story Of Arthur Truluv" (2017) by Elizabeth Berg. But Berg's novel and Waits's nine words for the ages are like a shoe and a sock. Don't believe me? Try reading "...Arthur Truluv" while keeping those words close by. Feel those synaptic sparks? Even better: Put on a recording of "Take It With Me" as you re-read the final pages of Berg's beautifully realized book. Try to stay emotionally detached. I dare you.    

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