Watch Me Entertain Myself!

Sacha Guitry once said, "You can pretend to be serious, but you can't pretend to be witty." Oh yes, I'm the great pretender.
(pilot episode: 20 January 2004)

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Pop Of Goodbye

(McVie adds: For those who’ve already seen the following episode of the show, I’ve added a couple of songs in the end. Of course they only occurred to me afterwards while driving home [it’s amazing the thoughts that just pop into my head while behind the wheel and listening to Sarah Brightman and Andrei Bocelli’s “Time To Say Goodbye” on repeat]. So check out this episode again. As for those viewing this for the first time, I say: Hello, goodbye.)

* * * * *

Saying goodbye has always been problematic for a lot of people. For years I too had to grapple with the idea of letting go. It didn’t make things easier that most of my education on the subject came from pop songs. I grew up thinking that goodbyes were a bad thing: I don’t want to lose you now. I just can’t let you go. Please don’t go. If you leave me now, you’ll take away the biggest part of me.

One of the earliest goodbye songs I liked was “Breaking Up Is Hard To Do” by Neil Sedaka. There he laments, albeit in a disorienting chirpy-cheep-cheep cheerful manner, that saying goodbye meant doom despite all the dabba-dabba-dum-doo-bee-doo-dum-dum in the world:
Don’t take your love away from me.
Don’t you leave my heart in misery.
If you go then I’ll be blue,
‘Cause breaking up is hard to do.


Often the cause of a break-up is incompatibility, as The Beatles so succinctly and repeatedly sing in the appropriately titled “Hello Goodbye”:
You say yes, I say no;
You say stop and I say go, go, go.
Oh, no!
You say goodbye, and I say hello.


Fast-forward to the Eighties and one of my biggest songs during that period was Chicago’s “Hard Habit To Break”, a song whose lyrics I took very much to heart:
Living without you
Is all a big mistake.
Instead of getting easier,
It’s the hardest thing to take.
I’m addicted to you, babe
You’re a hard habit to break.


But growing up I got to hear other goodbye songs, and not all of them were simplistic in message. Strangely enough, one of the songs to which I’d attribute my current “complicated” attitude towards goodbyes is by Barry Manilow, an artist whose name is more synonymous with schmaltz rather than complex emotions.

When I first heard his song “Somewhere Down The Road” I was quite leery of its rather blatant message, that sometimes goodbyes are not forever and that somewhere down the road, I know that heart of yours will come to see that you belong with me. I was never comfortable with the idea that someone belonged to another person—isn’t freedom something we all long for? But then comes the kicker of an interlude:
Letting go is just another way to say
I’ll always love you so.


At first I assumed that this attitude of letting go was a temporary thing, that there’s still the hope of a future reunion. But then I realized there was a more complex implication behind the lines when it occurred to me to ask: What if the goodbye was permanent? What if loving that person meant letting go of him?

My nail-on-the-coffin moment arrived when Madonna released her seminal split-up song:
Your heart is not open, so I must go.
The spell has been broken; I loved you so.
You were my lesson I had to learn…
There’s no greater power
Than the power of good-bye.


“The Power Of Goodbye” opened my mind to the idea that goodbyes can be a choice, a conscious decision to do something that may not necessarily make you feel good at first but is something that will do you good eventually.

But even if you’re the one being dumped you can still be proactive about it, as Andrew Lloyd Webber points out in “Tell Me On A Sunday”:
Let me down easy,
No big song and dance.
No long faces, no long looks,
No deep conversation….
I’d like to choose how I hear the news.


Breaking up need not be a sad thing. In fact it can be most liberating, as Scissors Sisters attest:
Kiss you off these lips of mine.
Kiss you off for a custom shine.
Pissed yours truly off this time;
It’s why I ain’t just kissin’ you—
I’m kissin’ you off!


See how goodbyes, while they can be complicated, can be simplified? It’s all up to you. And now it’s time for me to say goodbye, and I leave you with this question: What are your goodbye songs?

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

What about this cynical song by Sergio M.
"But summer's not forevermore,
No matter how we try
The trouble with hello is goodbye, goodbye . . ."

artistmonk said...

"From Now On" by Basia :D
Best good by song for me.

closet case said...

power of goodbye. i even blogged about it in my break-up. yes. conscious decision i made. if only to stop the bleeding.
there are two martin nievera songs: before you say goodbye (methinks) and the one he wrote, sang by pops: dont say goodbye (...its hard to let you go... tomorrow seems so far away for me to know...)

joelmcvie said...

@ANONYMOUS: It's cynical only if you choose to look at it that way. One can look at it realistically (it's like saying death is as much a part of life). One can look at it optimistically (goodbyes make hellos all the more special). One can look at it defiantly (so what if there are goodbyes? I'm still saying hello!)

Again, choices.

John Halcyon von Rothschild said...

I right now I have three. They're on rotation in my ipod.

Annie Lennox:
"No More I Love You's."

Also, Don Henley: Heart of the Matter
"I've been trying to get down to the Heart of the Matter, but my will gets weak and my thoughts seem to scatter but I think it's about forgiveness...even if you don't love me anymore..."

And the jologs in me... (sorry) Kitchie Nadal: Wag na wag (did i spell that right?)

joelmcvie said...

@JOHN HALCYON: Infurnezz, I LOOOOVE the Annie Lennox and Don Henley songs! As for Kitchie, okey lang. At hindi naman masyadong jologs si Kitchie. =)

JCP said...

Tori Amos, Tear in Your Hand.
Basia, From Now On.
The Beatles, I'm Only Sleeping.

JCP said...

and there's also U2, Please (from the Pop album)

Penny Lane said...

"Someone New" by Eskobar.

mraunch said...

Even If---Jam Morales

Someone That I Used to Love--Natalie Cole

Oughta Know--Alanis

ampalaya is on the menu.

closet case said...

just a side story. as i was eating lunch in a resto today, i suddenly hear the song i was referring to 'before you say goodbye'... POW! tears were welling up, right there in a chicken inasal outlet. so weird hearing it again after a looooong time, and right after thinking about it again, today...

heartbreak kid said...

change of heart - jim brickman
i'll say goodbye for the two of us - expose
i can't make you love me - bonnie raitt
last chance - allure
let me let go - faith hill
dear lie - tlc

what better way to cushion the pain than deal with it with mush, haha.

ash said...

my fave goodbye song is from a Dawons' Creek soundtrack.."Letting Go" by Sozzi

"don't call me
don't write
don't you walk in the middle of the night
you know that we needed some time and space to breathe in"

...just the way i want it hehehe :)