I was introduced to Tom Waits by my older brother when I was in High School- maybe earlier. My first introduction was Closing Time- one of his oldest albums where his voice is still clear and his lounge singer style pulled me in. Over the years I ventured into Swordfishtrombone, Small Change, and Mule Variations- and I tumbled happily down the rabbit hole of his "German Railroad" style. He has a solid place in my Top Five artists, and although his albums progress in complexity and I just might enjoy listening to Orphans more then Closing Time, I will always love it the best. Closing Time was my first love, and you don't just toss that aside.
Yesterday I was driving a load of boxes to our new house across town, and the song Stone Blind Love came stumbling out of the stereo. I have heard this song so many times but the lyrics always faded as soon as the song was over- their repetitive rhythm lulled them into just me humming the melody.
Here they are:
Now you're gone, and it's hotels and whiskey and sad-luck dames
And I don't care if they miss me, I never remember their names
They say if you get far enough away, you'll be on your way back home
Well, I'm at the station, and I can't get on the train
Must be blind love, only kind of love is stone blind love
Blind love, the only kind of love is stone blind love
With your blind love, oh it's blind love, stone blind love
It's your stone blind love
Now the street's turning blue, the dogs are barking and the night has come
And there's tears that are falling from your blue eyes now
I wonder where you are and I whisper your name
The only way to find you is if I close my eyes
The beauty of Tom Waits is that it can seem like he is saying something that he wrote just for you. I know different individuals have written ad nauseum about how Tom Waits has been able to "say what I couldn't say" and made them feel a certain way that they just couldn't explain. It's mysterious. I think that he is on to something very simple in this song. When you love someone, there is only one way to take them- completely and without pride. All you can see is the person that you love and accept that it will hurt. If you open yourself that much, you would be foolish to think it will be easy. It is a son of a bitch sometimes.
But when you get it right, there is nothing that feels like knowing the person that loves you is all in. Stone Blind Love.