Tuesday, January 31, 2006

I Won't Send Roses

I thought I was pretty familar with the American songbook, but I heard a great Jerry Herman number which was completely new to me, on the radio this morning.

I won't send roses
Or hold the door
I won't remember
Which dress you wore
My heart is too much in control
The lack of romance in my soul
Will turn you grey, kid
So stay away, kid
Forget my shoulder
When you're in need
Forgetting birthdays
Is guaranteed
And should I love you, you would be
The last to know
I won't send roses
And roses suit you so

My pace is frantic
My temper's cross
With words romantic
I'm at a loss
I'd be the first one to agree
That I'm preoccupied with me
And it's inbred, kid
So keep your head, kid
In me you'll find things
Like guts and nerve
But not the kind of things
That you deserve
And so while there's a fighting chance
Just turn and go
I won't send roses
And roses suit you so.

"With words romantic, I'm at a loss" is pretty weak. I suggest "I'm no romantic, at love a loss" would be an improvement, but generally that is a great lyric. I love the way that "and roses suit you so" subverts the implications of the earlier lines and changes them from bombast to melancholy yearning. It is the same technique that I noticed in Dylan's "Most of the Time" last year. I wonder if there is a technical term for it?

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