Tuesday, December 23, 2008

You Don't Know Me - Ben Folds (feat. Regina Spektor)

So it's way late and I'm kinda fascinated with anything and everything, but I'm too overwhelmed to really sort through real life properly, so you are getting this. More music and lyrics. Well, mostly lyrics.

So this is the latest single by Ben Folds. I liked him from the first of the Ben Folds Five days. Not from "Brick", kiddies. No, from "Underground." That raucous piano had me. At the time, I was still taking lessons on my keyboard and I was bowled over that someone could make a piano sound like that. Then, when I got ahold of their CDs and listened to the lyrics of the non-single songs, I found something more. I really like songs that have that little dramatic irony. Songs like this one where the music sounds happy but the message is actually pretty bitter. Or that little twist, like how Spektor counters by singing that Folds doesn't know her either at the end of the song. That's also a large part of what I like about the Barenaked Ladies- songs like "Break Your Heart" which one might think on the surface is a man who doesn't want to break the heart of his significant other, but really reveals that the singer is coward who egotistically thinks that his significant other is too weak and in love with him to live without him.

I also really like Regina Spektor. I think she does amazing piano-based songwriting. And I think that her voice, which is unusual, compliments Folds' and the song as well. Just like I admire Snow Patrol for picking Martha Wainwright to sing duet on "Set Fire to the Third Bar" because her unusual voice compliments the lead singer of that bands. It's not just having a female voice. It's having one that fits the male voice and the song itself.

And as much as I know this song is broadly about people who've been together a long time feeling like their partner doesn't know them, I think it's also about the misunderstandings that happen, even when you would think that the people would know each other well enough for them not to. Folds doesn't want to tell her what he has to say because he says she only change it. He also wonders why she even wants him at all if he's all these bad things she says. Both of those experiences hit really close to home for me right now, both from experiences I had with TyRoy. The misunderstanding one... well, I think we both think it was a situation of us talking past one another. When I look at the text and email back and forth, I don't think we were even having the same conversation. As for the latter, well, that was all on me. For as much as I (perhaps rightly) felt like he wanted to change me, in a benign paternalistic way, I also greatly underestimated him, what he wanted in his life and relationships, and what he was capable of as a man and a person. But with my limited view of him, why would I have wanted to be with him? And why would anyone want to be with someone who thought so poorly of them?

I think it's really hard to know anyone at all.

You Don't Know Me- Ben Folds (feat. Regina Spektor)
I wanna ask you -
Do you ever sit and wonder,
It's so strange
That we could be together for
So long, and never know, never care
What goes on in the other one's head?
Things I've felt but I've never said
You said things that I never said
So I'll say something that I should have said long ago:

(You don't know me)
You don't know me at all
(You don't know me)
You don't know me at all (at all)

You could have just propped me up on the table like a mannequin
Or a cardboard stand-up and paint me (paint me)
Any face that you wanted me
To be seen.
Damned by the existential moment where
We saw the couple in the coma and
It was we were the cliché,
But we carried on anyway.
So, sure, I could just close my eyes.
Yeah, sure, trace and memorize,
But can you go back once you know

(You don't know me)
You don't know me at all
(You don't know me)
You don't know me at all (at all)

(You don't know me)
You don't know me at all
(You don't know me)
You don't know me

If I'm the person that you think I am
(Ah ah ahh)
Clueless chump you seem to think I am
(Ah ah ahhh)
So easily led astray,
An errant dog who occasionally escapes and needs a shorter leash, then
Why the f**k would you want me back?!
Maybe it's because

(You don't know me at all)
Ahhh ah
Ahhh ah
(You don't know me,
you don't know me.)
Ahhh ah
Ahhh ah

So, what I'm trying to say is
What (What?)
I'm trying to tell you
It's not gonna come out like I wanna say it
cause I know you'll only change it.
(Say it.)

(You don't know me)
You don't know me at all
(You don't know me)
You don't know me at all (at all)

(You don't know me)
You don't know me at all
(You don't know me)
You don't know me at all
(at all)

(Mmmm, ohh oh
Ah ah ah ah ah
Aha ah ah ah
Aha ah
Ah ah
Oh-oh-oh-oh oh ohh)


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