On this Fourth of July, I want to dedicate this lovely ballad sung by the late Karen Carpenter to all the migrant children trapped in cages at the Mexican border and being so cruelly treated by the heartless Trump regime who don’t even think they’re worth a bar of soap or a bed.
I am also dedicating it to every vulnerable person in America (adult or child), and every endangered, neglected, or abused animal, and all others who lack a voice in a world currently dominated by those without a heart or soul.
Johnny Cash’s masterpiece “Hurt” is actually a cover written by Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails, and is probably the most depressing song ever about what seems to be Borderline Personality Disorder (probably with sociopathic tendencies). The lyrics and Cash’s delivery capture the emptiness and deep despair that every Borderline feels deep inside. When he recorded “Hurt,” he had already been given only 18 months left to live by his doctors (he suffered from a rare degenerative disease and diabetes).
This is another one of those songs that’s good for cathartic crying. I posted the lyric video so you can read all the words (even though Johnny’s enunciation is perfectly understandable).
I was going to make this song this week’s Monday Melody, but I couldn’t wait to put it up now.
I’ve always had a weak spot for Elton John tunes, especially ballads penned by his long-time partner and collaborator, Bernie Taupin. “Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters” is one such ballad from John’s 1972 album Honky Chateau. Why this moving and meaningful song never became a hit (and why the despicable, irritating “Crocodile Rock” did instead) I have no idea.
It’s also a song that makes me cry every single time I hear it.
I love the slow buildup, but it never overpowers you. The lyrics touch your heart without being too saccharine. It’s gritty like the big city it serenades but it’s tender at the same time. The simple message seems to be that at the end of the day, as Barbra Streisand sang, “people who need people are the luckiest people in the world.” No man is an island and all that.
Because it was never a hit (and I never owned a copy of “Honky Chateau”), the first time I heard “Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters” was in 2000, when I heard it in the movie “Almost Famous” (an incredibly good movie and if you haven’t seen it you must!)
I’m sorry about this being a day late.