I'm the Same Man

July 1, 2008 9:49 PM

Part of my Old Songs project. An unforgivably bitter song about the end of a relationship, written in 1998.

Let's see: A ukulele song with a spooky, absurdly melancholy melody that seems to borrow from the sweet jazz of the 20s and 30s? Yep, must be a song I wrote in the late 90s. I would place the song at about 1998, and it has about the bitterest lyrics I have ever written -- in fact, the song references how bitter it is. I recall playing this for my girlfriend at the time, which now seems inconceivable to me, as the song's narrator is looking forward to a time when a romantic relationship has ended disastrously; The narrator then describes his anger and remorse. This just doesn't seem like something you should sing to someone you're dating, even if you see the song as a work of fiction unrelated to your own life, as I did.

Oh well. She once wrote a song about me that contains the lyrics "When you say goodbye, you really mean it," which is not too far from this song's "I'm easily injured and I don't often forgive," so at least we were talking about the same guy. None of these statements are true, by the way, except, perhaps, the part about being easily injured. I am sometimes quite surprised to find myself with hurt feelings, and a little embarrassed by the fact. I am, however, quite a lot more forgiving than the fictional narrator of this song. But, still, I shouldn't have sung this to my girlfriend at the time.

I wasn't going to record this, as I had forgotten the melody to it. I just found myself humming it tonight, though, without warning. Songs have been coming back to me like that since I started this project. Were I to write it now, I think I would add a bridge and some fancier ukulele playing, instead of the incessant repetition of the essential melody. But I am not here to fix my old songs, but instead to document them. As with other songs of the time, this was written on a baritone ukulele, and I now play a soprano, so it is pitched higher than when I wrote it. I am singing at the very top of my range, before my voice breaks into falsetto, and am also using just a spoonful of breath to sing. It's not my most sophisticated singing voice, but it sounds fragile in a way that I think suits the song.


There was a time when you adored me
At the thought of me you'd sigh and moan
I'm no different
So you must have changed
I'm the same man you followed
And you now leave alone

I'm too tired to confront you
And too proud to ask you why
If I fought for you
It's a fight I would lose
I've been beaten so often
That I don't think I'll try

My love for you it will grow bitter
If I speak at all, I'll speak with spite
I'm easily injured
And I don't often forgive
I doubt you'll be bothered
But I hope that you might

I'm the same man who once thrilled you
And who you now could take or leave
I grew accustomed to your constant affections
And discover now that it's
Its absence I grieve

I'm the same man who once thrilled you
And who you now could leave or take
I grew accustomed to your constant affections
And discover now that it's
Its absence that aches

posted by Astro Zombie (1 comment total)

This is great stuff.

I dig the one-man lo-fi thing, but at the same time I can't help wishing for some more instruments. This one could really use the Benny Goodman treatment, I think -- I can hear clarinet solos between the verses and a nice rhythm section to fill out that quarter-note strum.
posted by danb at 8:00 PM on July 3, 2008

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