Billy Bragg is a songwriter who follows in the footsteps of giants like Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan, and Phil Ochs. Many of his songs dive into the guts of the working class, the poor, and the victims of capitalism, racism, and war.
This isn’t one of those songs. He’s also a genius at writing songs about love and the intricacies of romantic relationships.
My favorite of his albums is a collection called Workers Playtime, from 1988. Under the album title are the prescient words, “Capitalism is killing music.”
Love is a wonderful thing – the most wonderful thing – but it exacts a terrible price if you surrender to it completely, which is the only way to do it if you want to do it right. When your love finds an unequal weight on the other side of the see-saw you can spend a lot of time with your ass in the dirt. And that’s the price I pay for loving you the way that I do.
She could see no way ahead
That you weren’t coming back
I turned her away
That hurts my foolish pride
That I don’t sit and wonder why
That sometimes it’s such
For the things I must say