27 July 2011

Emmy the Great - 'We Almost Had a Baby'

I first heard this song, Emmy the Great's 'We Almost Had a Baby', on Radcliffe and Maconie (back in their Radio2 days), it didn't mean anything to me personally. I loved the fact that Emma-Lee Moss is Chinese (well, half-Chinese: close enough) and making her dream of being a singer come true. more so, I was struck dumb by the beauty of her voice (in particular, the last couple notes that swirl in the air and tug at the heartstrings), as well as the strength of the songwriting. if the story is taken from her real life / is true (and from what I've seen on the Web, it sounds like it is?), it's amazing.

somehow she's managed to compartmentalise a fling with a Ricky Nelson-type 'Travelin' Man' that included a night of heated passion with someone who meant so much to her and still means so much to her, yet he could care less now. she recalls how she thought that after a night of unprotected sex, she was so worried she was pregnant. yet, the wistfulness is painful - she knows that if there had been a baby, it would have been their baby. so many times in film we see women thinking they can use having a baby as a trump card in keeping a man, and instead of this idea being a cheap ploy in this song, it's heartbreaking. she's despondent. perhaps there's even a part of her that wishes she had been pregnant, because maybe he would have stayed.

the next time I saw you
out on the road
I'd have something to say
other than "pay me all of the money you owe"

I would have liked to
to have something above you
to have something to hold
and know I could choose to grow

I would've called you
and I'd have said "hey
you know I'm in control
I'll let you know if you have to come and choose a name"

she also paints, in one brief verse, the very picture of lost innocence. pretty sure she lost her virginity to this man (cue the waterworks):

well, I am a woman
and you know I'm a woman
but before I met you
I was only a kid
you know
when you thought you would break me
but you wanted to take me
so you did

and later:

I'm not the girl you remember from the start
I was only a baby
now I'm what you made me

she admits to wanting to give up everything to prove to him she was worthy of his love:

and once you left me in the spring
and twice you left in fall
and once I tried to make a life
to keep myself in yours

also, it's painfully obvious that this man is a musician, who flitted into her life when it was possible and flitted right back out (fits the profile of a touring musician):

do you think of me when you are playing
the one and five in four?
is country music
what your life is for?

I don't think men fully realise that that when it comes to love / sex / having babies, it's us women who carry the majority of the brunt of the consequences. there's a reason why there are more male "playas" and male serial flirters than women: the stakes are higher for women. if we sleep around, don't use protection and birth control, we're the ones that get pregnant and have to live with the potential unsettling, life-changing outcomes of unsafe liaisons.

hmm. it just really hit home today. when you're in love with someone, that someone is your whole world. for women, often times we're the ones having to give sex, because the men in our lives expect it, and we think that is enough to prove our love for them. but if there is ever a point when that someone stops loving you, especially after you've given them the most precious gift in the world, it's impossible to comprehend. it's not a question of forgiveness. it's not simple at all. it's like you're a drifting boat, left to drift forever, staring out into the horizon and wondering where the hell you're going.

so I've spent the entire afternoon listening to the song, bawling. like a baby. predictably.

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