When this song came up in my Hubzilla feed I could guess from the title that it is about the abuse of power. But who, I wondered, is it addressed to? Is Billie Eilish admonishing a loved one, berating a political leader or even condemning a whole society? But the Crotchety ears were tuned to tones and textures and the words slipped by unnoticed.
You’d have thought a song about wielding power would be loud and aggressive but not this one. In this live version there’s just an acoustic guitar and two almost whispered voices. The recorded version adds just a pinch of double-tracking, a hint of synth wash, subliminal bass and all but imperceptible snare drum. This is a song for the chill out tent at the festival, well away from the main stage.
And the lyrics? An older man took advantage of a younger woman. A controlling personality kept his girlfriend in a cage. An artist kept his contract because the producer didn’t know his secret. Billie may be singing about a man she knows or about men in general. It’s a song of regret rather than protest but it has echoes of the #MeToo movement. That, I think, is the source of its power.
In looking for a suitable header image for this post I came across several quotes by Wayne Dyer, a name I’d not come across before. Wikipedia describes him as “an American self-help and spiritual author and a motivational speaker.” The quote in the picture I chose has also been attributed to H. Jackson Brown Jr., another author of inspirational books. The consensus in the online sources I found favours Dyer for this one, but I don’t claim to have definitive evidence either way.
Here’s another of his aphorisms:
You can’t choose sides on a round world.Wayne Dyer
Actually, that’s not quite what he wrote. The original was “You can’t choose up sides on a round world“, but I like the shorter version better.