Sunday, May 15, 2005

"Stainsby Girls"

This is a love song to bygone youth, to the memory of things that were so vital, so all-encompassing and important at one time, but which have mellowed with time and bring a wry smile to the lips instead of a grimace of pain or balled fists of ecstasy. For forty-somethings who've taken a more relaxed attitude to life but who remember their fast-paced days, this is a gentle, bittersweet reminder. I love Chris Rea's laid-back, blues-inflected style, his hoarse, tired voice and squealing slide guitar - so rarely heard these days. This song starts so gently, so quietly, as if it were a gentle reflection that begins to solidify, to take shape in front of your eyes. The guitar kicks in, the drums shortly afterwards and before it, you're rocking along: "Now some had games that you had to play/Making rules along the way/Strange attractions newly found/Pride and passion kicked around/Some girls stole your heart/Like most girls do/But a Stainsby girl could break it in two." There's no shame here, no furtiveness, no embarassment at remembering. The time has come to grow up, this song is saying, and there's nothing wrong with that.

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