Monday, November 18, 2002

I'm listening to rupert holmes' "him" for about the sixth consecutive time. yes, rupert holmes, he of "the pina colada song" fame (you know: "if you like pina coladas/and getting caught in the rain," etc.). "him" was the followup single to all those coladas, released in 1980; it made it all the way to #6 in the u.s. singles chart, which amazed me as until a couple months ago, I'd never even heard, nor heard of, it. did you know that he wrote songs for the drifters and platters? or that he produced streisand? and that's still not why you should care. it's all about "him," which is one of those nasty (possible) breakup songs from someone you don't expect (see also: linda ronstadt's "easy for you to say"). "him" concerns a lover/husband discovering his lady's infidelity:

"over by the window
there's a pack of cigarettes
not my brand, you understand
sometimes the girl forgets

she forgets to hide them
I know who left those smokes behind
she'll say, "oh, he's just a friend"
and I'll say "oh, I'm not blind," to

him, him, him
what's she gonna do about him?
she's gonna have to do without him
or do without
me, me, me
no one gets to get it for free
it's me or it's him"

and later:

"I don't want to own her
but I can't let her have it both ways
three is one too many of us
she leaves with me, or stays
with him..." (chorus continues)

this has got to be one of the most spot-on, realistic songs about a cheating lover/spouse ever, and it's all the more stunning coming from, well, the "pina colada" man. holmes' observations are honest and real, with no sugar-coating, and his (his protagonist's, rather) attitude to it all is intentionally rational, rather than blase. the music is what you might expect, typical state-of-the-art cusp-of-the-'80s midtempo pop. but the lyrics - oh! what an honest punch they pack. succulent.

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