I’ve been to Nashville, and as Chris Pietrangelo and I can both attest, it is indeed Hard to be Sad in Nashville, even with heartbreak in the rear-view. The song begins with the titular lyrics paired with deep drums and bright acoustic strings, all alongside a stumbling electric guitar in front – a country-rock fusion of expectation and desperation. The front riff goes up from hope and then down to possibly dejection, all expressing the slight prospect of being with the ‘other’ in mind, a feeling I’ve certainly been haunted by.
One can hear the stars sparkle with each pluck on the high strings while feeling the despair in each heavy note held by the guitar riff. Pietrangelo clearly understands the pang of heartache with every refrain and every rooted vocal, bringing the listener into the snug sensitivity of Nashville while still expressing the melancholy acutely inherit to separation-sorrow, the awful feeling of leaving someone you deeply love, made worse by the knowledge of that person’s inadequate feelings (you threw my love away). The speaker croons, The loneliness that tears at me without you, and I personally have felt this pain.
The chorus contains the loveliest and briefest of rhymes, This city can’t shine without you, the lights are bright but I’m still blue, encompassing a lovely image of stars and city lights with the dark spectrum and emotional depression of the color blue. It’s a song of forgiveness, strangely difficult, even with the awareness that the person has the complete competence to feel and experience what their person-hood dictates.
Humans are slow to forgive any person who has dismissed them, partially because he or she feels like that person has rejected them as an individual. In reality it runs deeper. Often people search for relationship situations that mirror their own concept of love as reflected to them in childhood by their parents, which can be easily defined as distance, neglect, abuse, (a perfect childhood in the low percentage of us) or a myriad of other situations. As stated by philosopher Alain de Botton, We believe we are seeking happiness in love, but what we are really after is familiarity, a sad truth even with the humans we see as the most deserving of our deepest love. Yet with such knowledge it’s necessary to move on and have a good time in the present or in Nashville, if one does happen to be lucky enough to be there.
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