Monday Melody: Year of the Cat (Al Stewart)

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There are some songs you just never grow tired of. I clearly remember the first time I heard Al Stewart‘s “Year of the Cat” because I heard it in a dream. There’s only one other song I first heard while I was asleep and became incorporated into my dream (Lifehouse’s “Halfway Gone,” 2009). There’s something magical about hearing a song in a dream that always remains with you and makes the song seem more special somehow. You almost feel like it came from inside you.

“Year of the Cat”‘s vivid imagery recalls outdoor markets in faraway Eastern places and exotic women in colorful silk dresses. In my dream, during the summer of 1977, I saw all this imagery while on some kind of safari and my male companion–a boy who I had a wild crush on–was serenading me with this song.

I woke up right at the end, during the long instrumental and couldn’t get the song out of my head. I had to have that record, so I rushed out to purchase the 45 RPM. For the next month I listened to it more times than I could count.

It’s a great song, with many layers of instrumentation–violins, piano, guitar,and saxophone, giving it a sensual, even sexy feel. The lyrics are pure poetry. You simply don’t hear lines like “she comes out of the sun in a silk dress running
like a watercolor in the rain” these days.

“Year of the Cat” has a timeless sound and doesn’t sound dated, even 40 years after its release. It could have been made yesterday.

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Monday Melodies: Accidents Will Happen (Elvis Costello)

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I had the good fortune of living in New York City (well, actually in Queens, NY) during the punk and new wave explosion of the late 1970s at just the right age. Until 1979 though, I was largely unaware of it, and satisfied myself with Boston, Aerosmith, and Fleetwood Mac, because in those pre-MTV days, that’s what was getting all the radio airplay (along with disco, of course).

On New Years’ Eve, 1978, I met a young man through a friend and fell head over heels in limerence with him. Never mind that he turned out to be a narcissistic jerk (they all were), for the first half of 1979 we had blast. Mark was what today you might call a hipster–he was a Jewish art student who wore skinny ties and trench coats, and he had an earring when they were still a novelty on men. He ate organic food, rode a bike everywhere, listened to obscure music and he adored punk and New Wave. He hated what I listened to and proceeded to give me a music education.

He used to take me downtown to the East Village, and it was like a carnival. Young people everywhere wearing Mohawks, black leather with safety pins, ripped T-shirts, cheap eateries on every corner, second hand record stores. And of course, a multitude of smoke-filled hole-in-the-wall music clubs, the most famous one being CBGBs.

New wave and power pop bands that would become famous during the early 1980s got their start there. Probably the most famous of all of them was a nerdy looking young Irishman named Declan McManus, more famously known as Elvis Costello.

Costello had a hiccupy, neurotic voice and a spastic dance. He wrote songs with deep, almost indecipherable lyrics and incredibly catchy music with melodies that stuck to you like caramel sticks to your teeth. You were never sure if he was sincere or sarcastic, but no matter–all his songs sounded great and you found yourself singing and bopping along.

His biggest hit was a little ditty called “Accidents Will Happen.” Although my life then was no less shitty than it ever was, I always associate this song with good times. It’s impressive for how far ahead of its time it is. It sounds more like a song that would have been popular in 1986, not 1979. I never grew tired of it, and enjoy it as much today as I did when I was 20.

Monday Melody: City of New Orleans (Arlo Guthrie)

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Technically, it’s still Sunday, but in 3 minutes it will be Monday and according to my WordPress clock (which is 4 hours off) it’s been Monday for 3 hours and 57 minutes, so here’s the second installment in this series featuring music I like from the past.

This week’s selection is “City of New Orleans” by folk singer Arlo Guthrie.

From the Youtube entry for the video:

A hit for Guthrie on his 1972 album “Hobo’s Lullaby”, Peaking at # 18 on Billboard hot 100. The folk song was written by Steve Goodman, describing a train ride from Chicago to New Orleans on the Illinois Central Railroad’s City of New Orleans in bittersweet and nostalgic terms. Goodman got the idea while traveling on the Illinois Central line for a visit to his wife’s family. He performed the song for Arlo Guthrie in the Quiet Knight, a bar in Chicago, and Guthrie agreed to add it to his repertoire. The song is now more closely associated with him, although Goodman performed it until his death in 1984. The song has been recorded by numerous artists both in the US and Europe.

This folk-rock hit from the fall of 1972 has been largely forgotten, but it’s been covered by a lot of other artists over the years, because of its timeless Americana appeal.   Even in its heyday, it evoked nostalgia.  It was the kind of song your parents liked. Hell, even your grandparents could groove to it.   Even in the early 1970s, who actually rode on trains?   The rollicking chorus and old-timey Ragtime-esque piano riff evokes images of simpler, kinder times that probably never really existed but we like to think did.  It’s sincere without being smarmy.  The tempo is relaxing and rhythmic, like the long, slow train ride through the flyover states the lyrics describe.

At the end of the day, it’s just a really great song that almost makes you believe the milkman will be delivering fresh whole milk and eggs tomorrow morning, the smiling mailman will wave hello and whistle a tune, and America is still a great country.  It’s all Mister Rodgers Neighborhood and clean cotton sheets blowing in the wind out back, and even a cynic like me can get down with that.

12 more songs about narcissists–part 2!

Due to the enormous popularity of my previous articles about this topic (both of which now appear at the top of page one of Google–thanks everyone for making these so popular!), I’m adding 12 more songs about narcissism. Music and narcissism go together well– that’s one good thing narcissism has going for it, I guess. 🙂

The Songs.

1. “The Backstabbers” — The O’Jays

It’s very difficult to find songs about narcissists/psychopaths prior to the 1980s, but here’s an excellent one from the early 1970s.

2. “Ain’t It Fun” — Paramore

Catchy pop offering a badass challenge to a narcissist’s gameplaying.

3. “You Don’t Own Me” — Lesley Gore

Here’s another oldie (from the early ’60s) about a young woman involved with a narcissistic man.

4. “Mr. Know It All” — Kelly Clarkson

A modern take on Lesley Gore’s lament.

5. “Shadowboxer” — Fiona Apple

Apple’s musical poetry eloquently describes the way narcissistic mind games make you feel. Thanks to Amanda for suggesting this.

6. “Trouble” — Taylor Swift

The intro is pretentious and badly written, but Taylor does seem to have a way of attracting abusive and narcissistic men, at least in her songs, and this one is catchy as anything else she’s done.

7. “Black Sun” — Death Cab for Cutie

Alternative rock song about divorcing a narcissist. Thanks to Sachi for suggesting this one.

8. “Words as Weapons” — Seether

A man’s view on trying to deal with a narcissistic woman.

9. Disney’s “Tangled (Rapunzel)–Mother Knows Best”

Song from the Disney movie sung by Rapunzel’s narcissistic mother, who has made Rapunzel her “golden child.”

10. “Out of the Blue” — Julian Casablancas

Good indie rock about a narcissistic relationship.

11. “Mirrors” — Justin Timberlake

Thanks to Quixie for suggesting this one to me. Seems like a nice love song, doesn’t it? Oh, but it’s not. Listen to the lyrics.

12. “Hard to Love” — Lee Brice

A warning to his lady that he’s hard to love. Listen to the lyrics–sounds like a narcissist to me. At least he’s nice enough to warn her in advance.

I hope you enjoyed these.

For more songs about narcissists, see my previous articles:
1. 20 Songs About Narcissists (#11-20): https://luckyottershaven.com/2014/12/12/20-songs-about-narcissists-part-two-of-two/
2. 20 Songs About Narcissists (#1-10): https://luckyottershaven.com/2014/12/12/ten-songs-about-narcissists-part-one/
3. 12 More Songs About Narcissists, part 1: https://luckyottershaven.com/2015/01/05/10-more-songs-about-narcissism/

12 more songs about narcissism

Narcissism is a hot topic, and popular music is no exception, especially since so many songs are about relationships gone bad and breakups with narcissistic lovers. Whenever possible, I tried to include lyric videos.

1. Christina Aguilera: Vanity

Speaks for itself.

2. Sara Bareilles: King of Anything

Fairly recent, nice indie pop song about a not so nice malignant narcissist.

3. Queen: I Want it All

I couldn’t find a lyric video, but here’s the lyrics:

Adventure seeker on an empty street,
Just an alley creeper, light on his feet
A young fighter screaming, with no time for doubt
With the pain and anger can’t see a way out,
It ain’t much I’m asking, I heard him say,
Gotta find me a future move out of my way,
I want it all, I want it all, I want it all, and I want it now,
I want it all, I want it all, I want it all, and I want it now,

Listen all you people, come gather round
I gotta get me a game plan, gotta shake you to the ground
Just give me what I know is mine,
People do you hear me, just give me the sign,
It ain’t much I’m asking, if you want the truth
Here’s to the future for the dreams of youth,
I want it all, I want it all, I want it all, and I want it now,
I want it all, I want it all, I want it all, and I want it now,

I’m a man with a one track mind,
So much to do in one life time (people do you hear me)
Not a man for compromise and where’s and why’s and living lies
So I’m living it all, yes I’m living it all,
And I’m giving it all, and I’m giving it all,
It ain’t much I’m asking, if you want the truth,
Here’s to the future, hear the cry of youth,
I want it all, I want it all, I want it all, and I want it now,
I want it all, I want it all, I want it all, and I want it now…

4. Madonna: Material Girl

Madonna purportedly suffers from NPD herself. I don’t doubt it. Still a great 1980s classic though.

5. Rush: Malignant Narcissism (instrumental)

No words, but the title says it all so it belongs here anyway. Good hard rock jam.

6. The Police: Every Breath You Take

The dude in this 1986 megahit definitely seems psychopathic to me.

7. Michelle Branch: Are You Happy Now

Angry pop rock from 2003 about a girl left by her narcissisict lover.

8. Three Days Grace: Just Like You

Don’t want to get infected by her evil!

9. Shawn Colvin: Get Out of this House

The lyrics are oblique and this song may not be about a narcissistic relationship, it could be just a bad breakup but it’s still a great song so I’m posting it anyway. I could not find a lyric video for this.

10. Gloria Gaynor: I Will Survive

I have looked, but there seem to be very, very few songs about narcissism prior to the 1980s (isn’t that an interesting statement about how our society has changed?), but here’s a disco song with a victorious message about escaping from what appears to have been an abusive relationship with a narcissist. This has become a sort of female empowerment anthem but I don’t see why it couldn’t apply to guys escaping from narcissistic women too.

11. Imagine Dragons: Demons

Sounds like an insightful malignant narcissist to me, warning his prey! Sam, did you actually write this?

12. Carrie Underwood: Cowboy Casanova

Catchy country-pop take on a narcissistic relationship.

See also these two posts for even more songs about narcissism!
1. 20 songs about narcissists #1-10
2. 20 songs about narcissists #11-20

4 more songs about narcissists

As a music lover, I’ve noticed a lot of popular songs are about narcissism. Here are 4 more I’m adding today.

1. You’re So Vain/Carly Simon
This was a huge radio hit in 1972. Simon wrote this song about Warren Beatty.

You walked into the party
Like you were walking onto a yacht
Your hat strategically dipped below one eye
Your scarf it was apricot
You had one eye in the mirror
As you watched yourself gavotte
And all the girls dreamed that they’d be your partner
They’d be your partner, and

You’re so vain
You probably think this song is about you
You’re so vain
I’ll bet you think this song is about you
Don’t you? Don’t you?

You had me several years ago
When I was still quite naive
Well, you said that we made such a pretty pair
And that you would never leave
But you gave away the things you loved
And one of them was me
I had some dreams they were clouds in my coffee
Clouds in my coffee, and

You’re so vain
You probably think this song is about you
You’re so vain
I’ll bet you think this song is about you
Don’t you? Don’t you?

I had some dreams they were clouds in my coffee
Clouds in my coffee, and

You’re so vain
You probably think this song is about you
You’re so vain
I’ll bet you think this song is about you
Don’t you? Don’t you?

Well, I hear you went up to Saratoga
And your horse naturally won
Then you flew your Lear jet up to Nova Scotia
To see the total eclipse of the sun
Well, you’re where you should be all the time
And when you’re not, you’re with
Some underworld spy or the wife of a close friend
Wife of a close friend, and

You’re so vain
You probably think this song is about you
You’re so vain
I’ll bet you think this song is about you
Don’t you? Don’t you?

2. Alanis Morrisette/Narcissus
This is the lyric video.

3. Til Tuesday/Voices Carry
This was a huge power pop hit in 1985.

In the dark, I like to read his mind

But I’m frightened of the things I might find
Oh, there must be something he’s thinking of
To tear him away

When I tell him that I’m falling in love
Why does he say

Hush hush keep it down now voices carry
Hush hush keep it down now voices carry
Uh-uh

I try so hard not to get upset
Because I know all the trouble I’ll get
Oh, he tells me tears are something to hide
And something to fear
And I try so hard to keep it inside
So no one can hear

Hush hush keep it down now voices carry
Hush hush keep it down now voices carry
Hush hush keep it down now voices carry
Uh-uh

He wants me
But only part of the time
He wants me
If he can keep me in line

Hush hush keep it down now voices carry
Hush hush keep it down now voices carry
Hush hush shut up now voices carry
Hush hush keep it down now voices carry
Oh hush hush, darling, she might overhear
Hush, hush – voices carry
He said shut up – he said shut up
Oh God can’t you keep it down
Voices carry
Hush hush voices carry
I wish he would let me talk.

Finally, here’s one from a man’s perspective, with a song about his abusive father (who was probably a narcissist) and how it’s still having repercussions on his life as an adult.

4. Everclear: Father of Mine
This is the lyric video.

Two other songs I posted about malignant narcissism can be found here and here.

Please feel free to add your own suggestions! I’ll keep posting songs from time to time, so stay tuned.