If you’re lost, I’m right behind. #PlagueSongs, no. 15

You’ll know Everything But the Girl’s Amplified Heart (1994) for its hit single “Missing.” But take a listen to a deeper cut from that record: “We Walk the Same Line” (Really, do listen to the original: Tracey Thorn’s alto is far more pleasing than my tenor.)

The lyrics’ evocation of love and worry resonate in this era of COVID-19 and uprisings against racist violence. Will the people you love return home safely? As Thorn sings, “I don’t need reminding / how loud the phone can ring / when you’re waiting for news.” Bringing us into the perspective of a person who is concerned and waiting, she then sings about how “that big old moon / lights every corner of the room.”

I appreciate, too, the tone of understanding. As she sings in the first verse, “And I bet you could tell me / how slowly four follows three.” She knows that you know what sleepless waiting is like. She understands you, too.

The declaration of faith – sung as much to the listener as to herself, I think – affirms that need we have right now, also expressed in “Lean on Me” (Plague Song no. 9). We need to hold each other up.

I don’t know enough about music to explain why the F7 chord works so well here, but it does. “We Walk the Same Line” is never too far away from an F7 or a G chord. They recur the most frequently – in both the verse and the chorus. At least in this song, landing on the F7 deepens the emotional experience a little bit, as when it comes on and lingers after “news” (in the line “when you’re waiting for news”).

Here’s a home demo that I heard for the first time while composing this blog post.

I’m struck by how similar it is to the final version. Even at the demo stage, Thorn and Ben Watt already had the lyrics and arrangement very clearly worked out.

Keep the faith, everyone. I’ll be back again next week.

Are you seeking a #PlagueSong to perform? I continue to compile this ever-expanding playlist. Of course, you may have a song in mind that I don’t know – and that would be welcome!

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