Into my Playlist: Come See About Me

Hello, and welcome back to my music!

First of all, apologies for the long absence. I had finals, and illness. I’m back, and I’ll try to make it up to you with super-regular posting in the future. I will say in advance that I have a couple of internet-free holidays coming up, but we’ll see what I can do.

So, I maybe mentioned this before, but if I haven’t: I love Motown. I’ve been devoted to Motown for as long as I can remember, and the highlight of one summer program in Michigan was getting to take a day trip to Detroit where we, among other things, visited the Motown museum.

One of the cool things about Motown, especially the early years, is how almost every song is done by two or more artists. I mention this, because while I aim to collect all my favorites in their various forms, when I post about a song, I’m going to talk about which version it is, and then if I write about another version I’ll compare the two on the second go.

Today, I’m writing about “Come See About Me,” and this being The Supremes version.

One of the things I love most about Motown is that all of the songs are upbeat, even the sad ones. This is another breakup song that’s maybe a bit too cheerful for its content, which is exactly my kind of song. I mean, just think about the tempo, the upbeat music intro, and then we have the first lines, “I’ve been crying (ooo-ooo) cause I’m lonely for you. Smiles have all turned to tears, but tears won’t wash away the fears…”

I mean, it doesn’t get a lot darker than that in songs not about death, and yet the music is just the kind of thing to invite a jaunty stroll/strut down the street.

Don’t you just love things at odds with themselves?

The essence of the song is that the singer is super depressed because their significant other is completely abandoned by someone they gave up everything else for, and they’re asking the significant other to return because they have nothing and are super depressed. They can still sing cheerful, but they’re depressed. Really.

As I contemplate the mental health of the person singing this, it occurs to me that songs like this are a kind of manipulation. I mean, haven’t you heard horror stories of people manipulating exes into coming back to them by saying they’re going to kill themselves because the breakup was too much for them? I actually knew a guy who did that…. And let me tell you, whether or not the person is actually suicidal, it’s absolutely emotional blackmail and NOT OKAY.

So similarly, is it okay to just say, “I’m so depressed, come back. Everything’s terrible without you and I can’t be happy because I gave up my whole life for you.” Is that okay?

I’m thinking probably not. Regardless of the nature of your relationship, you gave up those things. Even if you were emotionally abused and your significant other bullied you into giving up those things…. Why would you want that person back??? It’s not healthy. Get new friends, reconnect with old ones. Watch a chick flick. Eat ONE BOWL of ice cream. Travel, even if it’s just to a day at the zoo. Live vicariously through the poor choices of others in music or on television, and then don’t make those choices.

Don’t beg for the person to take you back. It’s not attractive. It’s not cool. And it’s not healthy.

But it does make for great music, so maybe write a song and then NOT actually do it.




About jillianavaloncolumbiatheatre

Recent college graduate, writer, aspiring teacher, lover of literature and art.

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