I almost didn't write this entry.
I scrambled at the last minute to find a different silence, but everything that came to mind felt too similar to other entries, or to a better moment just out of reach of my brain.
I seriously considered saying, "Sorry, this list will only have four spots.
See, this song and I have had our ups and downs. Every geek of any category knows how this goes.
I fell in love with this song the first time I heard it, when it was newly released. I'm talking about before the Christina Aguilera re-release. It swept me off my feet and helped inspire the topic I'd then assign to this month.
Then, suddenly, it was everywhere. Every radio station, every other song almost, every stranger's pair of earbuds turned up too loud.
I generally try really hard not to be petty toward works of art that "I liked first, damnit!" and be happy for the artists' success, but hey, I'm imperfect, and that instinct sometimes gets the better of me.
Shaking it off now. Re-embracing my love for this song. No matter how many people are talking about how great it is, I will too.
The accompaniment is simple piano that swells at the appropriate moments in a very stage-like style, and the most often repeated lyrics, found both in the verses and the refrain, are "Say something, I'm giving up on you," always the entire phrase said at once.
The picture we get is of a person in an increasingly one-sided relationship, still in love, but realizing that he can't go on with the way things are. He needs some kind of assurance that he's not the only one who still cares at all, to get a rise of any kind, really, even an argument, or he's done.
This isn't the angry kind of breakup song, the kind thrown in someone's face or celebrating their absence. It's sung with sadness, and the lyrics keep coming back to flickering hope-against-hope that he'll be asked to stay.
It's a tearjerker right from the start, but the moment that made me realize just how much I love it is also the moment that made (and spawned) this list.
After we've become used to that whole line, "Say something, I'm giving up on you," the last line is simply, "Say something," followed by a silence that waits for an answer and goes unfilled.
And yes, I give due credit to the re-release for recognizing the power of that moment and drawing out that silence before the final piano chord.
Either way, ouch.
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