Song of the Day #2,189: ‘The Blessings’ – Dar Williams

mortalcityEnjoy ‘The Blessings,’ another great songs from Dar Williams’ greatest album, 1996’s Mortal City.

That record falls into the rare genre of albums that are close to perfect but for one glaring, horrible misstep. In this case, it’s the title track, a 7-plus minute half-spoken, half-sung short story about a couple that meets during a power failure.

Lyrically, that song is actually quite good, if a little too self-consciously artsy. It sets an interesting scene of two people on a first date who wind up trapped in her apartment overnight because an ice storm has shut down the city.

But set to music, with Williams struggling to fit each verse into an unwieldy melody, it becomes unintentionally hilarious. A real train wreck of a song.

But enough about the one bad song. Here’s one of the many good ones, a much better track about making the best of a bad situation.

If you’re gonna get your heart broke, you better do it just right,
It’s gotta be raining, and you gotta move your stuff that night,
And the only friend you can reach isn’t a good friend at all,
And you know when he says “Now who dumped who?” that you never should have made that call.

I had the blessings, there’s nobody there, there’s nobody home,
Yeah the blessings, at the moment I was most alone
And aimless as a full-time fool, the joke was on me,
I got all those birds flying off of that tree, and that’s a blessing.

And the blessings were like poets that we never find time to know,
But when time stopped I found the place where the poets go.
And they said, “Here have some coffee, it’s straight, black and very old,”
And they gave me sticks and rocks and stars and all that I could hold,

I had the blessings, a moment of peace even when the night ends,
Yeah the blessings, can we meet? Can we meet again,
At the crossroads of disaster and the imperfect smile,
With the angel in the streetlamp that blinks on as I walk on a mile, the blessings.

And the best ones were the ones I got to keep as I grew strong,
And the days that opened up until my whole life could belong,
And now I’m getting the answers, when I don’t need them anymore,
I’m finding the pictures, and I finally know what I kept them for,
I remember, I can see them, see them smiling, see them stuck,
See them try, I wish them luck and all the blessings.

I was fast asleep at three in the morning when I got the payphone call,
And she said, “Did I wake you up,” I said, “Hey, no, not at all.”
And she said, “I got this suitcase and I don’t know what to pack,”
And I said, “You can take anything you want, just wait and see,
It’s not a release, not a reward, it’s the blessings,
Its the gift of what you notice more,”
And I walked out and I watched her kick the big pile of the night,
And we sat down and we waited for that strange and empty light.
Yeah the blessings…

See them smiling, see them stuck,
See them try, I wish them luck and all the blessings.

One thought on “Song of the Day #2,189: ‘The Blessings’ – Dar Williams

  1. Dana says:

    Well now I have to go hear the train wreck title song!

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