Why couldn’t the db’s sing a song that made me less confused?

by DRM

The thrum-clang of the guitar, the thump thump thump pulsing of the tom-tom, and the song starts, Holsapple up on the stage, shaggy-haired and energetic, Stamey a little behind, diffident and cerebral, bursting together into the rhythm, and I lean back against the curved wall to feel the plaster vibrate.

It’s loud, it’s angry and I’m just pissed.

“You don’t like it at all.”

Across 13th Street, Jill’s lying in bed probably, maybe drinking tea with her roommate, a girl I don’t know, since I haven’t spent much time since she moved out and I took an apartment on St. Felix St. She’s been there, sleeping on the mattress I pulled into the front room because the heat doesn’t work in the room off the kitchen that was light and private and sold me on the place. I don’t know what she’s thinking, not then and not now, don’t know what she means when she says that I need some space, that I need to grow up.

I don’t think she’s thinking about me now, she was so pissed when I left, about what I don’t know, because I’m so confused about what she’s saying that I can’t listen. How are you supposed to grow up when someone says they don’t want to live with you anymore, but they love you and then they want to spend time with you until they don’t?

When we got together she was ending something with a guy who worked at the museum. We ended spending Fourth of July weekend together because my pants got stolen out of her window and all the stores were closed. While things were getting started, she went to see the guy to get some of her stuff and talk things over. She came back and told me all about it. He’d been naked sitting on the couch, she told me. But she didn’t sleep with him or anything. She wanted me to approve. What I didn’t get was why she stayed, or didn’t make him put on any clothes, or something. But the thing was, she wanted me to get, was that she didn’t sleep with him.

Maybe that should of told me something. Or maybe standing there in the Ritz listening to the db’s sing “It was a fight” feeling more confused than angry, fending off heartache, bouncing off the flexing wall, should have told me something. Instead, I burrowed deeper down into my heart, tending to the pain like a garden of heirloom tomatoes, working to get a bumper crop that would just spoil and bruise.

Then the lyrics break in the air. I lift my head. I feel clear. He’s talking to me.

You were wondering why
I just can’t talk about anything
Is it because
I just can’t talk to you
Would you prefer
To talk at length about anything
Just to keep you from starting to cry

Yeah, maybe she’s crying. That would serve her right.

But I’d hate it.

Here’s what the NY Times thought the db’s were about in 1982. And here’s the site that tells their story.