Sunday, February 24, 2008

Ed Kuepper - “Everything I’ve Got Belongs to You”

I love Ed Kuepper's music. It's got me hooked.

No matter what tempo, he is a master of subtle propulsion and sublime grooves.

When he multi-tracks his guitars and adds piano and organ melodies, he can create a cocoon of sound that you just don't want to escape.

It's even more enticing when his lyrics hook you and refuse to let you off the hook.

Maybe that's a bad metaphor. It must sound violent, which is not what I wanted to convey.

The "hook" that I mean is the lure of sophistication, of a thought or emotion perfectly captured and then projected out to his audience.

Ed Kuepper has a rare ability to focus a magnifying glass on the machinations of heart and soul, body and mind, and then report his findings to us in such simple unpretentious words that you could almost overlook how precious they are. His songs aren't wordy or pretentious, but when repeated until they become familiar, they are loaded and hypnotic. His cocoon is both musical and verbal.



"Everything I've Got Belongs to You" is one song that blends music and words perfectly. It deserves to be on lists of the Top 100 best songs ever. Well, it's close to the top of mine!

It's a love song, at least I think it is.

It's not about saccharine romance or puppy love. It's about real, grown-up love where two people grow in and out of love. They argue and lose each other, then make up and find each other again, in the process maybe learning a little or a lot about themselves and one another.

You have to look as far as Lou Reed and "Ecstasy" and songs like "Tatters" to find someone who can document the dynamics of a relationship this subtly in music. ("Some couples live in harmony, some do not. Some couples yell and scream, some do not.")

"Everything" starts with one of the most amazing first lines in rock music: "I have designs on you that come from dirty books ".

I grin every time I hear it, then I wonder what it really means.

Is the object of Ed's affection an existing lover or a photo in a magazine? Has some fashion model taken over his life? I don't think so. I think a real relationship has begun and ended and begun again. Good on him for still having designs on her! She must be "worth it".

OK he might be churlish, he might be rude. I'm sure she has her faults as well, although he doesn't list them like he does his own. ("You might boohoo" doesn't seem to be that much of a fault.)

There's no point even trying to revisit the issue that once divided them, it will only lead to another fight. Besides "she" seems to be able to win these battles anyway, she always gets her "comeuppance" (I wonder if anyone else has used this word in a song, maybe Cole Porter or Elvis Costello?)

Ultimately, the relationship matters more than who is wrong or right. The relationship is truth, it's no fiction or fantasy.

It drives him to revive it when it falls over. He has to "take" her by the hand and get her back, despite his own faults and perhaps despite any that she might have.

So the title itself…it sounds so romantic. It is romantic. But there's this underlying sense of ownership and possession. Or is there? Does "she" now own everything he used to own? Has she deprived him of it?

I don't think so. It's interesting that Ed doesn't even use the word "own".

The things he's talking about are things that he's "got". She doesn't own them now, they "belong" to her. They mightn't even be material possessions; they might be his qualities, good or bad.

Either way, she deserves them, he's offering them to her or to them. Again, she's worth it.

The relationship is not two people, but one thing. And every time they do something that temporarily splits it, "it" gets itself back together again.

OK he doesn't want to let her "off the hook", but it sounds like he's on the hook as well.

Maybe it's not such a bad hook to be caught on. Real love can keep us on tenterhooks, but they can be such tender hooks!

I hope Ed doesn't mind me printing the lyrics to this greatest of real love songs, so you can enjoy it and make up your own mind.




Everything I've Got Belongs To You
Ed Kuepper



I have designs on you that come from dirty books
And I'd lie to you if that was what it took
Well I'd act out of spite and those times ain't few
Cause everything I've got belongs to you
Yeah everything I've got belongs to you
I'd come by for you and take you by the wrist
You might well boohoo, yes there could be that risk
To let you off of the hook, that just wouldn't do
Cause everything I've got belongs to you
Yeah everything I've got belongs to you
I don't care who's wrong or right
I'd just start another fight
And you'd get yours, can't you see
You always get your comeuppance with me
Now, time has proved I'm churlish and I'm rude
And I find a real contentment in bad moods
And because it's all true, there's nothing to do
Cause everything I've got belongs to you
Yeah everything I've got belongs to you

2 comments:

madge said...

yes - but this is not really an Ed Keupper song - it is a actually a Rodgers and Hart song, was covered by Nina Simone and Blossom Dearie, and Ed never credited it tho. I like him, but that's low.

madge said...

yes - but this is not really an Ed Keupper song - it is a actually a Rodgers and Hart song, was covered by Nina Simone and Blossom Dearie, and Ed never credited it tho. I like him, but that's low.