Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword! ~ Matthew 10:34
Oh, I can’t take another heartache Though you say you’re my friend, I’m at my wits end You say your love is bona fide But that don’t coincide with the things that you do And when I ask you to be nice, you say
Maybe it should be said that conflict, not absence, makes the heart grow fonder. There’s just something about the drama that often ensues from conflict in a relationship, that warms – more like heats – the heart. There’s nothing like a good spirited spat to get the blood racing. Yeah, a little gunpowder thrown in the fire can be a good thing.
You gotta be Cruel to be kind in the right measure Cruel to be kind it’s a very good sign Cruel to be kind means that I love you Baby, you gotta be cruel to be kind
I’ve never been one of those who needed such stimuli to keep relationships strong; quite the contrary, I prefer the placid pond. Though I know there’s plenty out there who would disagree on this with a resounding jeer – how boring!
I do my best to understand, dear But you still mystify and I want to know why I pick myself up off the ground To have you knock me back down again and again And when I ask you to explain, well, you say
And what would Jesus say about such foibles? Interestingly enough, the Prince of Peace says that when we next see Him, He will be swinging a sword. And this time it won’t just be tables at the Temple getting knocked over. There will be all kinds of destruction and division, even among family member and close relationships.
You’ve gotta be cruel to be kind in the right measure Cruel to be kind, it’s a very good sign Cruel to be kind means that I love you, baby (You’ve gotta be cruel) You’ve gotta be cruel to be kind
“Cruel To Be Kind” has always been one of my favorites from the self proclaimed “Jesus of Cool”, Nick Lowe. It was his highest charting single in the U.S., reaching #12 on the Billboard charts in 1979. Interestingly enough, it reached #12 on the U.K, Australian and Canadian charts, as well.
Here’s a few interesting notes about the song:
“Cruel To Be Kind” was one of 206 videos that were played on MTV’s very first day of broadcasting, August 1, 1981
The video re-enacts his wedding with Carlene Carter (June’s daughter) and also features Rockpile bandmate, Dave Edmunds, as the limo driver.
The song was originally written for Nick’s earlier band, Brinsley Schwarz, but never got released
It also appeared – in a different, slower version – as the B side to the single “Little Hitler”
Well, I do my best to understand, dear But you still mystify And I want to know why I pick myself up off the ground To have you knock me back down Again and again And when I ask you to explain, you say
Nick was no stranger to conflict and chaos himself; he earned his nickname “Basher” due to his unique style in the recording studio, both as producer and performer. He was known to urge his bands to just “Bash it out…we’ll tart it up later” to get the raw, rough sound that his record label, Stiff Records, became so well known for.
So, if you are one of those who prefers a dash of drama to liven your day and a few tears mixed with your laughter, or if you prefer a more peaceful union, either way, the Basher is sure to get your blood flowing with this one every time.
Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? ~ Psalm 139:7
We hear you’re leaving, that’s OK I thought our little wild time had just begun I guess you kind of scared yourself, you turn and run But if you have a change of heart
Running away. Where and when does it begin? As soon as one acquires the ability, I suppose. And we’re all running from something. Everyone has those skeletons in the closet. Don’t we?
Rikki don’t lose that number You don’t wanna call nobody else Send it off in a letter to yourself Rikki don’t lose that number It’s the only one you own You might use it if you feel better When you get home
But there is one that we can’t run from. No matter how hard we try. Well, two actually; we can’t run from ourselves, either. No sir, no way, no how. We try but we just can’t do it. As Robert Palmer once sang “You might as well face it…”. But the good news is, there’s no reason to run, no real reason to hide. Because, at the end of it all, there will only be one to answer to. And he loves us most of all. And will be with us till the end of the age.
I have a friend in town, he’s heard your name We can go out driving on Slow Hand Row We could stay inside and play games, I don’t know And you could have a change of heart
In a Rolling Stone interview in 2013, Donald Fagen said, “Walter and I aren’t fond of ‘Rikki Don’t Lose That Number.’ It’s not a bad song. I think it’s well-written, but it’s just so simple. I just have listening fatigue. It’s been played so much.”
As it turns out, “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number” would become Steely Dan’s highest charting single of all time, reaching #4 on the Billboard charts in 1974.
You tell yourself you’re not my kind But you don’t even know your mind And you could have a change of heart
The greatness of Steely Dan was not just in the ability of the band’s masterminds, Walter Becker and Donald Fagen, to craft such perfect jazz/rock/pop/funk sounds and lyrics together, but in their ability to assemble a seemingly endless revolving cast of the finest studio musicians in the world to make them come to life.
A review of the liner notes on any Steely Dan album might include such stellar players as: Larry Carlton, Jeff “Skunk” Baxter, Michael McDonald, Jeff Porcaro, David Paich, Lee Ritenour, Chuck Rainey, Michael Omartion, and so many more that it’s hard to list them all here. Needless to say, when I became a Steely Dan fan was when I learned to read album liner notes to see who was playing on an album. Once you knew who the quality players were, you could pick a hit record without ever listening to it. If you saw those names listed, no matter whose album it was, you knew it would be good.
A few interesting notes about Steely Dan:
Becker and Fagen were obsessed with perfection in sound. They would routinely use over 40 takes in a studio on any given track. For the album Gaucho (which only had 7 songs), they used 40 different studio musicians and 11 different engineers.
One of their early groups, The Leather Canary, featured Chevy Chase on drums.
Becker and Fagen were in the touring band for Jay and The Americans (“This Magic Moment”, “Cara Mia”), featuring the legendary Jay Black, for over a year, getting $100 per show. Early in the tour, the band’s manager cut their salary in half.
Early in their career’s, Walter Becker didn’t feel his vocals were good enough for commercial acceptance and Donald Fagen suffered from stage fright, so they hired ABC Records journeyman, David Palmer, to sing lead.
Becker and Fagen, it seemed, were continually trying to run away from success (and their own fears), but eventually overcame them. They have sold over 40 million records and were inducted into the Rock an Roll Hall Of Fame in 2001.
I guess it just proves the point: you can run, but you just can’t hide.
And to my buddy, David Sanders, this one’s for you.
Listen to the magic of Steely Dan (just as it sounded in ’74) here: