Saturday, February 09, 2019

"Wait For Me"--The Song That Just Won't Go Away

I'm not exactly sure when I first heard this song by Daryl Hall and John Oates. It could have been the LP, X-Static (1979), or it might have been the web show "Live From Daryl's House." By the way, if you have a life, don't start watching the show. Just don't. You've been warned.

Anyway, I love this song. The mystery to me is, why? It's not a complicated one, to be sure. From what I can gather, Daryl's got himself in a mess. Let's be honest: We're assuming it's Sara (yes, that Sara) and she's just done with this. Daryl is kind of saying in that first verse, there was a magic time, and it's ending. The carriage is turning back into a pumpkin, so to speak. He says it's his fault, but we've tried again. What's one more?

She's still kind of on the fence, you see. "Is it easier to stay?" he says. But he doesn't know what she's going to do. He wants to keep her, but then, we don't know what he keeps messing up. But then seriously, if it's gonna "fall down" when you're away, is it worth it, bro? [You just called Daryl Hall "bro."--ed.] Yeah, I did.

"Love is what it does, and ours is doing nothing." Are they long distance, or is it just not working? It's been going on so long, it's gotta be worth something, it means something. He knows he's the one trying to hold on, but he thinks he's got enough good will, he can say what he feels. And apparently, he's not giving up. She's coming back, and he'll be ready.

I don't have any direct experience with anything like this. That's probably a good thing. I had a thought that our love songs would be boring if we were not sinners, but that's not true. Yet what is true is that we're so enmeshed by The Fall that we can hardly imagine anything else. Men and women will never be easy.

What I appreciate about most of the live versions is that they are toward the present, pertaining to a song that is, as of this year, 40 years old. Daryl sings it slower nowadays; he lets it breathe. And frankly, if we're singing along, it lets us breathe! It would only be me and some buddies goofing off, but I wanted to record this song. The story of every great Hall and Oates song is that it was ahead of its time, and was underappreciated, and this one is no exception, in my view. It's been stuck in my head for a year; now it can get stuck in yours! You're welcome.

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