I much prefer Duncan Sheik in that hit "Barely Breathing" some years ago. This could have been the anthem of my early twenties, but for the fact that it was not released until years later. The narrator realizes that he doesn't "know who he's kidding" by imagining she cares, and that he could "stand here waiting, fool for another day", but he realizes it's "not worth the price that I would pay", and then the little clincher "but I'm thinking it over, anyway". Who has not thought it over anyway? Probably somebody, but everybody I know has always thought it over, anyway. For that matter, who has not been entranced by someone like the woman in Lloyd Cole's "Charlotte Street", who asks "do you want to go to Heaven, or would you rather not be saved", only to turn out to be someone the narrator must dispense with and implore "I won't read your poetry"?
But it's always easy to focus on dysfunction and the life foregone. Sometimes one should focus what functions in the life at hand. Fourteen years ago yesterday, I was riding on an airplane from Los Angeles back to Dallas on a late Thursday evening. I was reading J.G. Ballard's "Empire of the Sun", and finding it utterly engrossing. I kept reading even as the day ended outside. A voice said "Do you want some light?", and snapped on my overhead little passenger seat light. We began to talk that evening, we went out on a date the next week, and we've now been married for a dozen years.
I got to leave Duncan Sheik, Lisa Loeb and Lloyd Cole behind,
and now I sing along to those songs with vivid memory, but no recent actual heartbreak experience. I'll bet my singing voice suffers a bit for the omission, but I don't mind a bit.
I want to hear "do you want a light?" rather than a thousand really cool tragic failed relationship songs.