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Repost: “New Thing Now”

Posted by purplemary54 on September 17, 2014

Heat makes my brain malfunction.  So does being tired.  That’s the deadly combination that’s keeping me from a new post.  But here’s a nice oldie for your listening pleasure.  Please disregard anything about “new” Shawn Colvin material; this is two years old, after all.

I really need to start paying more attention. Sign up for more newsletters or something. I had no idea Shawn Colvin has a new album out. And a book. Finally, some juicy gossip by one of my favorite singer-songwriters EVER. Seriously, she’s fantastic. I posted about her way back when I started this thing and her cover of “You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go.” She inhabits the songs she sings in a way not a lot of people do. I don’t know for sure how autobiographical her songs really are, although this article calls her a “confessional singer-songwriter,” so I’m gonna assume that on some level she’s singing about herself–even when it’s someone else’s song.

“New Thing Now” is all Colvin, though, and it is such a sad, tender, acidic song. Yes, I did combine those three things; no, it is not a mistake. This is a love song with a nasty bite. It could be to a lover. It could be to a music executive. It could be about the entertainment press. The main point is not who it’s for, but the co-dependent relationship she finds herself in with that person(s). It’s a tug of war that she is not really happy about, but has accepted as part of her life. “This is your new thing now. Naked as a rose, everything exposed, but not quite. Cards out on the table, a genius with no label, but not quite.” She can see through the masks of the business, knows its ugliness but has to live with it, “just a poet and her pimps, but not quite.” She chose this life, but hates the way it eats into everything, tainting friendships and romance. The relationship she finds herself contemplating isn’t comfortable anymore, but she has to keep up the facade–for herself if no one else. “This is your new thing now, and it makes the whole world spin, it’s at least as old as sin, but not quite. This is your new thing now, and now you’re turning grinning, but maybe no one’s listening, and you might lose it all my darling. Yes, you might.” Almost as if she’s singing to a singer. Almost as if she’s singing to herself.

The most co-dependent relationship any artist has is with the art they’ve chosen. Colvin knows that music is the one thing she can’t let go of. Men, labels, reviews, audiences, whatever–they’ll all come and go. In the end, it will still be Shawn and her voice and a guitar and all the stuff she can’t say any other way.

“This is your new thing now, and it feels so good to doubt you, I could almost live without you, but not quite. Not quite.”

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