A break-up song that sounds more bittersweet than most break-up songs, I wasn’t even sure if it was a break-up song (as opposed to a “take-a-break” song or a song about a lover just being gone for a weekend) until I’d heard it many, many times. I guess that it threw me off since it debuted and was performed when Seth Timbs was immersed in a relationship with his first wife, a time when writing songs about heartache reached its career low, at least until the last batch of Fluid Ounces songs and first batch of Hot New Singles songs.
The song opens and closes with the lines,
“Blue skies in your eyes
As you said [later, “sang”] your good-byes
And I tried to lie and say I wouldn’t miss you
But I’d have to be more dead than alive
And up until now that’s been easy.”
I have discovered this concept to be true as soon as any major change occurs in life: that when sudden change strikes, you look back to just days or hours before the event and simply ask, “Was I asleep?” Whether it’s a break-up or a terrorist attack, life is filled with little wake-up calls that cause us to return to vigilance. And even if our speaker wishes he could go back (when he says, “And up until now that’s been easy”), he’s still implying that he has had just such a wake-up call.
I have always been disappointed that this song didn’t last longer being played live and that it never made it to an official release. It was written in time to have appeared on Foreign Legion, and is the only song I can think of that could have fit into that record’s near-perfect cohesion if it had been sandwiched between “Poet Tree” and “Metaphor,” throwing an actual break-up song in before a series of songs about misery and heartbreak. It could have also worked on The Whole Shebang, a record which I thought needed another track or two to nudge it over the top.
But alas, it has remained unreleased…well, until now.