Monday, April 1, 2013

Always On My Mind by Willie Nelson

You know one of your friends is really into someone they like when they bring that person up in conversation all of the time. If you’ve been on the other side of this you know what it’s like to have someone always on your mind.

Like the first burst of emotions when you fall in love, the intensity of your thoughts about this other person wanes over time but it never really disappears. What happens after years in being in a relationship with someone isn’t that they leave your thoughts, it's just that you get so used to them being in you thoughts it becomes normal to think of the them all of the time.

“Always on My Mind,” is one of the most famous and beautiful love songs in popular music. It’s as much an apology song as a statement of commitment. Brenda Lee first recorded it in 1972:



This song was a moderate success but it was Elvis Presley’s cover the brought this song into prominence:



My introduction to this song was through Willie Nelson:



Brenda Lee is a fantastic singer but what works with Nelson’s and Presley’s version is the fact that they both exude this feeling of regret and heartache. This song isn’t an open apology. It’s not saying: “I did all of these things wrong,” instead it goes with “maybe. . . I did something bad.” That’s a big deal for this character in this song.  You hear that in the desperate voice of Elvis in his later years and the beat-up and battered voice of Willie Nelson.

Willie Nelson really owns this song. It feels like songs that he wrote for himself. There’s a conversational feeling to the verses that opens up into a beautiful chorus. There’s desperation, a feeling that this is the last attempt to bring this person back into his life, yet he can’t just come out and say that he was wrong. It’s tragic on some level how much he just can’t bring himself to open himself up. But you feel like he’s trying and maybe that’s enough.

What consolation is it really that someone who has done you wrong was thinking about you the entire time?

It depends on the situation, but for me it means a lot. It’s a statement that other things in life aren’t as important and through all of stuff they did wrong, they couldn’t help but think of you. The knowledge that someone is thinking about you is comforting. It lets you know that you matter, that you mean something and that you are always with the people who love you.

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