Friday, February 15, 2008
Roy Orbison - Only The Lonely
Roy Orbison, "Only The Lonely" (YSI link)
Roy Orbison, "Crying" (YSI link)
Roy Orbison, "It's Over" (YSI link)
Roy Orbison, "Heartache" (YSI link)
Ugh, I had a terrible Valentine's Day, a lonely, sad one that just sucked. You know it's bad when you find yourself at the Duane Reade pharmacy at 9:30 picking up a prescription, ugh. Sometimes, you just have to accept that you are feeling down and it's always nice to know that there is so much music made just for those moments.
It seemed natural to focus our next post on one of the greatest at speaking to the broken-hearted, Mr. Roy Orbison. I first heard Orbison's music when I was probably 8 or 9 years old, can even remember the moment when I was made aware that this music was special music by my father. We were in the car back from a soccer tournament and an Orbison Greatest Hits tape was put in and my dad told me about the man in black with the greatest voice of all-time. I didn't like it at first, probably because it was so far from my first love of hip-hop, plus it was a recommendation from a parent. But, these songs wouldn't have made sense to me then anyway; I was too young to understand what this guy was singing about.
As my man sang, "Only the lonely know know why I cry, only the lonely." Indeed. At a certain point, this music makes sense to us all, as no one escapes unscathed. For sad music, though, it sounds so beautiful, majestic at times, it doesn't hide in minimalism and off-notes. Strings, backup vocals, an early rock/abilly sound slowed down, hints of doo-wop, fans of the Jens Lekman can hear one influence on his music. If you are discussing Orbison's music, there's one aspect that you have to mention, that you speak of in awe: that voice. Maybe the greatest to ever grace pop music, it can hit the high notes and go down low with authority. Listen to it on "Crying," it covers the entire vocal range in an almost operatic style and makes a nearly three minute rock song sound like so much more. There's not much to add to all of this, these songs above are some of the saddest you'll ever here, a reminder of the other side of all those great love songs. I'll end with the lyrics to "Crying," my favorite:
I was all right for a while, I could smile for a while
But I saw you last night you held my hand so tight
As you stopped to say hello
Oh, you wished me well, you couldn't tell
That I've been crying over you, crying over you
And you said, so long
Left me standing all alone
Alone and crying, crying, crying, crying
It's hard to understand but the touch of your hand
Can start me crying
I thought that I was over you
But it's true, so true
I love you even more than I did before
But darling, what can I do
For you don't love me and I'll always be
Crying over you, crying over you
Yes, now you're gone and from this moment on
I'll be crying, crying, crying, crying
Yeah, crying, crying over you
Whew. Try to top that. Thank you Roy for reminding us that it's okay for boys to cry.
I highly recommend buying the two disc The Essential Roy Orbison, which does a nice job of compiling the man's hits for a nice price. It can be a good way to get started and it allows you to get a comprehensive look at the man's career across labels. It isn't all sad songs, for the record, "Pretty Woman," "Dream Baby," etc., it's all essential.