Monday, March 25, 2019

Musical Monday - Jealous Guy by Roxy Music

#1 on the Billboard Hot 100: Never.
#1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Never.
#1 on the U.K. Chart: March 14, 1981 through March 21, 1981.

This should be subtitled "Manpain: The Song".

This version of Jealous Guy is a cover or John Lennon's original 1971 recording of the song. It appears that this recording was an attempt to either memorialize or capitalize upon Lennon's death in December 1980, as Roxy Music added a live version of the song to their usual set in the following months and recorded this version in February 1981. Whether this recording is a moving tribute to a fallen icon or a crass and ghoulish attempt to capitalize on a tragedy is probably in the eye of the beholder.

That said, this song is kind of creepy when you break it down. The lyrics seem to be an apology, but they really aren't. They are a series of excuses. The only thing the singer is explicitly sorry for is making his lover cry. When it comes to hurting them, the only statement made is that the singer didn't mean to do it, following by a series of reasons why they did, including the fact that they are a jealous person. The entire tenor of the song is more or less "I didn't mean to hurt you, but instead of dealing with your hurts, let's talk about my pain and insecurities for a while instead".

This centering of male anguish in stories that are ostensibly about male wrongdoing and the harm they cause to the women in their life is something of a recurring theme in popular culture. Songs, books, movies, and television programs in which a guy lashes out at a woman so frequently seem to move away from the pain caused to the victim and instead focus on how the incident disturbed the sensibilities of the aggressor and is now making him feel bad that it is difficult to get annoyed with Lennon for making a song that does the same thing. All the same, I am just so very tired of these sorts of stories of dudes whining about how causing harm to others is actually hurting them. If I never hear another "manpain" tale like this again, it will be too soon.

Previous Musical Monday: Keep On Lovin' You by REO Speedwagon
Subsequent Musical Monday: Rapture by Blondie

Previous #1 on the U.K. Chart: Shaddap You Face by Joe Dolce Music Theatre
Subsequent #1 on the U.K. Chart: This Ole House by Shakin' Stevens

List of #1 Singles from the Billboard Hot 100 for 1980-1989
List of #1 Singles from the Cash Box Top 100 for 1980-1989
List of #1 Singles on the U.K. Chart for 1980-1989

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