One of the things about growing up that I don't think I'll ever forget was how goddam important everything was.
From being selected for the first team in sports, to being invited to the coolest party on the weekend, to having my girlfriend tell me how much she loved me, to telling her how much I loved her.
If anything didn't work out, it was as if the earth had turned itself inside out and all the madness and badness had been let loose.
Remember all that?
A while ago I blogged "Here Comes My Girl" by Tom Petty, and it reminded me of how I looked at the world and felt about things when I was a spotty teen with too much of some things and not enough of others.
Now that a lot of water's gone under the bridge, I've come to think of this song as an older companion to the Petty song. Both songs are about how important a particular woman is, how she makes them feel, how they feel about her and what they plan to do about it.
So far, so vanilla.
But where Petty's song is all youthful agression and determination -- "When I got that little girl standing right by my side/I can tell the whole wide world to shove it" -- Steve Earle is older, wiser, sadder and a lot more bruised.
"Now your mama said you could do better than me/Baby I know that's true/But you believed me instead, and every word I said, and I did too/Now every day's a little bit harder out there no matter what I do/I could carry the world on my shoulders girl, 'long as I got you."
And while Petty's protagonist comes across as wild, unfocused, determined and a bit like Marlon Brando in "The Wild One", Earle's got too much experience for blind optimism. He's got the bumps and scrapes to prove it, though there's still a spark deep inside: "Well my shining armour is rusted and worn/There's a heart inside here entrusted and sworn to you/Just tell me baby what I need to do/I can win you over again if you want me to."