Thursday, June 17, 2010

For a Song: Tenderness on the Block

Warren Zevon: Tenderness on the Block


Shawn Colvin: Tenderness on the Block


I was posting a song by Shawn Colvin on Star Maker Machine today, and I thought of how much I love her music. She’s really an artist that I have been neglecting here. Thinking about her songs, I remembered Tenderness on the Block, and I remembered that the original was by Warren Zevon. Listening to both, I realized that I had to post them together.

My daughter is fourteen now, a freshman in high school, and she has her first boyfriend. I keep missing the chance to meet him, but my wife says he’s a good kid, and of course my daughter speaks well of him. Still, this changes things. I’m happy for her, but she’s not just my girl anymore. This is just starting to sink in for me, I think, so this song hits me in a way it never did before. Zevon’s original projects a certain amount of pride that his girl is handling things so well, but there is also a shadow of regret in his performance. Colvin is possibly anxious in her cover, but also hopeful. Taken together, these versions represent the father and mother in the song, for me. The combination reveals a complicated, and perhaps wary, happiness, and this emotional state does not seem complete without having both versions side by side.


maine character said...

Two songwriting favorites. I remember when Colvin's album came out, and she said in an interview how blown away she was by that album of Zevon's. What one could write about and how sharp he was.