Jerry Coyne lists his "worst songs ever". #2 is ... Charlene's "I've never been to me".
It one of my favorite songs ever!
I’ll never forget the first time I heard this song: I was driving with my girlfriend to Death Valley along route 395, skirting the spectacular eastern edge of the Sierra Nevada. (That, by the way, is my favorite road in the U.S., at least the stretch from Reno to Lone Pine.) Climbing one of the small hills on that road, we heard this song on the radio. It was so absolutely dreadful, so cloying in its lyrics, that I almost stopped the car in horror. It must have been 1982, for that’s when this musical travesty, by Charlene, was released for the second time.I'll never forget the first time I heard this song. I was walking in Manhattan with my girlfriend (also circa 1982) and we heard it on the radio. I was mesmerized. I told her it was a beautiful song. She detested it (we broke up few months later, not because of the song).
I love the melody, and the lyrics are profound and countercultural. A woman who had lived her life on the fast side-- sleeping around, chasing glamour and wealth and novelty-- is giving advice to a young mother who feels trapped. She says that what really matters is family and love and commitment, not the "subtle whoring" of the fast life.
Very countercultural. Leagues better than most of the swill the Beatles wrote.
Interestingly, my girlfriend at the time was a bit like the woman in the song-- she craved the fast life and excitement, and she clearly felt the song an affront. I remember thinking to myself at the time "of course she wouldn't like this song."
The last verse:
But you know what truth is?
It’s that little baby you’re holding, and it’s that man you fought with this morning
The same one you’re going to make love with tonight. That’s truth, that’s love
Sometimes I’ve been to cryin’ for unborn children
That might have made me complete
But I, I took the sweet life and never knew I’d be bitter from the sweet
I spent my life exploring the subtle whoring that cost too much to be free
Hey lady, I’ve been to paradise, but I’ve never been to me
A lot of truth. A beautiful melody. I love the song . Coyne and I disagree on so much.