Wednesday, June 9, 2010

I Can’t Make You Love Me by Bonnie Raitt

“Finding someone that you love isn’t the hard part, it’s finding someone that loves you that is the challenge.”

This is one of the many pieces of advice that my father has passed down to me. This one could not be truer. Everyone has crushes that are not reciprocal and we all have experiences or know of situations where one person loves their partner more then they love them.

While there are many reasons that people use to explain why relationships break up most of these are symptomatic of an inequality of how two people feel about each other. This is put more lightly as “he’s just not into you” or more devastatingly as Bonnie Raitt mourns “I Can’t Make You Love Me.”

Bonnie Raitt is a lot of things.  She’s one of the best slide guitarist you will ever hear and simply one of the best guitarist you will ever hear.

With a voice full or soul and blues, Raitt is an amazing musicians with impressive range. My entry point to Bonnie Raitt wasn’t through her amazing guitar playing or even her singing, it was through George Michael covering “I Can’t Make You Love Me” on his MTV Unplugged Concert.

Okay first off, George Michael’s performance here is beautifully heartbreaking, nuanced and subtle. The purity and clarity of his tone combined with the ease of his voice moving through his range softly proves his vocal artistry and prowess.

Then I found Bonnie Ratit’s version, my God. . .

Whoever came up with the idea of having Raitt put down the guitar and sing a pop ballad is genius. Raitt is a blues singers but rarely are the blues framed in such a main-street kind of way. While her performance doesn’t initially sound like one of a blues singers, the soul of blues shines right through every note she sings.

This song is heartbreaking. Here’s a person who has accepted that her partner does not love him but just wants to forget that for one night. She’s not mad, rather she's disappointed at the tragedy of the situation, “I’ll feel the power but you won’t.” What makes this song transcend into a higher level is the line “I’ll give up this fight.” It’s not only a surrender of the heart but of the spirit.  This line is also a statement of strength accepting that there are things that we can’t control in life.

True love is something that people come to, not persuaded to.  If someone doesn’t love you, as hard as it is to accept let them go. Is this your fault, is it something that you’ve done? No. Love embraces who you are flaws and all and if someone doesn’t “love” you because of something that you did, then they never really loved you in the first place.

We often focus too much on our own feelings when we get to know people.  Instead think about how the other persons feel about you and when you find someone who truly loves you as much as you love them hang onto that person and don't give up the fight.

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