Song of the Day #1,048: ‘Real Emotional Girl’ – Randy Newman

I’m jumping ahead 11 years to Randy Newman’s 1983 album Trouble in Paradise. Newman released three other albums between Sail Away and this one — Good Old Boys, Little Criminals and Born Again — but for some inexplicable reason I don’t own them.

Writing this blog, I sometimes run into these blind spots in my music collection. How can I not own nearly half of Randy Newman’s studio albums? I’m not even talking about the immense body of work he’s put together writing for the movies, just his proper solo albums. This injustice must be remedied!

Trouble in Paradise was actually my introduction to Newman. My brother-in-law, who will no doubt be chiming in soon, played this album for me in the early 90s and made me an instant fan.

This is a more pop-influenced collection that the previous two I’ve covered, with the cheeky anthem ‘I Love L.A.’ hitting the charts and giving Newman his biggest hit (an earlier song, the misunderstood ‘Short People,’ had also made a splash on the charts, driven by controversy). The production on this record feels a bit dated now, but it’s a strong batch of songs nonetheless.

Trouble in Paradise is more consistently skewed than the other albums I’ve featured. ‘Real Emotional Girl’ is one of the only “straight” songs on it. But it’s a beauty.

She’s a real emotional girl
She wears her heart on her sleeve
Every little thing you tell her
She’ll believe
She really will

She even cries in her sleep
I’ve heard her
Many times before

I never had a girl who loved me
Half as much as this girl loves me
She’s real emotional

For eighteen years she lived at home
She was Daddy’s little girl
And Daddy helped her move out on her own

She met a boy
He broke her heart
And now she lives alone
And she’s very, very careful
Yes she is

She’s a real emotional girl
Lives down deep inside her heart
She turns on easy
It’s like a hurricane
You would not believe it

You gotta hold on tight to her
She’s a real emotional girl


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4 thoughts on “Song of the Day #1,048: ‘Real Emotional Girl’ – Randy Newman

  1. Dana says:

    I have Little Criminals, or at least I did at some point. Great album. I don’t have the other two you mentioned and I too must remedy that situation.

    It’s funny that you refer to the production on this album as dated. It is, but, at the time when it came out, I remember thinking it was wonderfully produced.

    There are definitely a few songs on this album that are dated not just by production, but by style and references, but there are also many gems, including this SOTD.

    Glad I was able to introduce you to Newman. You have returned the favor with so many artists ten fold since then.

  2. Amy says:

    This is the song that made me fall in love with Randy Newman. After knowing him first for his wonderfully ironic songs, then for his “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” Pixar gem, I didn’t expect to discover such a poignant and powerfully understated side as he reveals here. I would later come to love the handful of these songs (“Real Emotional Girl,” “When She Loved Me,” “Feels Like Home”) more than all the others, though I still adore the satiric Randy Newman you will feature next week.

    • Josh Bonnett says:

      Rwndy has said Real Emotional Girl was written as in ironic, almost creepy tune. I wouldn’t put it with the likes of ‘When She Loved Me’.
      Think about it. Who is the narrator talking to?

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