22 December 2005

rod stewart - "oh God, i wish i was home tonight" (from the foolish behaviour lp, available for purchase here.)

i had meant to post this the other day, paired w/ "christmas in prison." it's an exile of another sort, and even more tangentially christmas-related. in retrospect, as the last christmas song i'll post before the holiday, "o holy night" would seem to make the most sense, as it is the most timely; but there are political reasons behind the positioning of rod.

"home" is something of a sequel to "you wear it well," but not explicitly so, this time contact initiated by telephone; released during rod's horrible decade (aka "eating it in the 80's"), it's the closest he's since gotten to his peak period. it has everything that ever made rod great : bawdiness, poignancy, fiddles, and the voice--it is, in fact, rod at his roddiest.

two verses stand out, the first, early on in the song, goes :
send me a naked picture by the u.s. mail,
write a pornographic letter and, no, i won't tell.
keep your legs closed tight, keep your body under lock and key,
stay home at night and save all the best parts for me.
meanwhile, the penultimate verse goes like this :
i guess better ring off before the boys get home,
my regards to all your family and everyone at home.
there's a lump comes to my throat and a tear i can't hide,
'cos i want to see you so badly i just can't lie.
the way he strings two interconnected, but at least on the surface, two contradictory impulses together is impressive; the way he sells both--the first sounds like it comes from a faces record; the second, like "reason to believe"--is extraordinary.

in between those two verses, the christmas line comes in. we know from the start that it's december--and a particularly wet and gray one at that. "i could be home in time for christmas if you want me to be," he sings; it's a much different sentiment than "i'll be home for christmas." that it's christmas, as i've mentioned, does lend it a certain hue and throw it into a particular context. BUT! no matter what you might have heard recently, christmas is but a single day--it comes and it goes--while winter is the season things have gone on between rod and his missus, things that go on between couples every day, regardless of what holiday is on the horizon. winter, as rod knows all too well, can be v. cold and last a long time.

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