Saturday, March 17, 2012

No. 810 – If You Love Somebody Set Them Free

Performer: Sting
Songwriters: Sting
Original Release: The Dream of the Blue Turtles
Year: 1985
Definitive Version: None

After this song came out, I hated it. Hated it, with a capital H. That was partly due to the fact that I was ticked at Sting for breaking up The Police and partly due to the fact that I didn’t like his solo poppier sound—even compared to Synchronicity, which had a fine sugar-coated glaze applied to it.

But the biggest reason I hated it was that it later seemed to mock the demise of my relationship with Beth. When Beth called it quits—almost 25 years ago to the day, now that I think about it—she left me with the parting words (OK, they weren’t exactly the last thing she said, but it was part of the discussion) of Khalil Gibran: “If you love someone, set them free. If they come back, they are yours.” It was her entreaty to let her go … and maybe she’d come back.

Believe me, at that time, at that moment, that was absolutely the last thing I wanted to hear. I don’t want to let you go. You’re leaving—for someone else. Naturally, Sting singing the same words over and over again didn’t go over well.

But just as time heals all wounds, so it also provides perspective. And with perspective sometimes comes a different point of view. One year after Beth and I broke up, I found myself in rapturous love, with Melanie. I can’t remember why, but I had found … Nothing Like the Sun, which became the soundtrack of my sensibility. Every note carried significance, it seemed, just as every day seemed to bloom wildflowers and songbirds.

Given that backdrop, how could I not give Dream of the Blue Turtles a second chance? This time, in 1988, I had a different reaction. I didn’t like it as much as … Nothing Like the Sun, but I liked it—even this song. Yeah, OK, Sting. I hear you now. I get it. The love that Beth and I had had run its course, and she was right to ask me to let her go. She wasn’t coming back, and I was more than ready to move on.

I let her go.

No comments:

Post a Comment