Not-so-silly love songs

The Doobie Brothers aren’t known for writing great lyrics. In fact, I don’t think I know all of the words to a single Doobie Brothers song. But I was wearing headphones as I listened to this song the other day, and suddenly the lyrics came into focus:

He came from somewhere back in her long ago
The sentimental fool don’t see
Tryin’ hard to re-create what had yet to be created
Once in her life. …

As he rises to her apology
Anybody else would surely know
He’s watching her go.

But what a fool believes he sees
No wise man has the power to reason away.
What seems to be is always better than nothing.

The Doobie Brothers, “What A Fool Believes”

That’s a pretty fine lyric, nicely capturing love’s illusions.

Here’s the flip side of the story, from another group not known for their lyrics:  Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young. Stephen Stills commemorates that moment of enlightenment, when a lover finally lets go of his illusions:

One morning I woke up
And I knew you were really gone
A new day, a new way
And new eyes to see the dawn. …

Rejoice, rejoice, we have no choice
But to carry on.

Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young, “Carry On”

There’s a reason why we never tire of silly loves songs. Love sometimes is a crucible that tests us to our limits. But, to paraphrase Friedrich Nietzsche:  what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.


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