Sunday, March 20, 2005

"Love The One You're With"

Now, I'm an admirer of Crosby, Still, Nash (and Young). Some of their harmonies are heartbreakingly beautiful, many of their songs are lifelong favourites of mine, and Neil Young is a veritable God. As far as CSN are concerned, though, the whole is definitely more than the sum of its parts, with virtually the sole exception of this song, by Stephen Stills. And even with this one song, despite its bustling optimism and washes of organ, I have an issue. Stills exhorts us to "love the one we're with", even if we can't "be with the one we love": "Turn your heartache/Right into joy/Cos she's a girl/And you're a boy". Now there are a hundred and one songs about being betrayed by the one you love, but there aren't that many songs that encourage the screwing around that inevitably leads to the heartbreak. And here it's presented so innocently, like some hippy utopian ideal that will make the world a better place. But as events proved, stripping away the old-fashioned mores of our parents' society didn't turn us all into happy, contented commune-dwellers who were happy to share out possessions and our partners. All of which goes to date this song horrendously and turn it into some sort of sociology exhibit.

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