Friday, August 27, 2010

The Too Cool and So Cruel

Cover of "Let It Rock"And I wish I could be as cruel as you; and I wish I could say the things you do; but I can't and I won't live a lie, no, not this time. ~ Kevin Rudolf, Let It Rock

It came as a surprise to me, reading these lyrics this morning, that I'd been learning them incorrectly. I thought the line was, "I wish I could be as cool as you," and, truthfully, I'm kind of disappointed it wasn't. I really liked the image cool evoked, though I suppose it's not terribly distant from the writer's intention. Being cool and cruel can easily go hand in hand.

Interpreting song lyrics is an ify proposition because they come out of a relatively unconscious place to begin with, and even the writer may not know precisely what they mean until s/he's had the chance to live them for a while. I've read posts suggesting Rudolf is referring to the relationship between Jesus and Judas Iscariot, a father and son, or he's echoing Lennon and McCartney's Let It Be. Maybe all three or none at all.

At the risk of taking him entirely the wrong way, I think he's telling us, quite simply, that everything comes at a price and sometimes we only realize it after we've pulled out our pockets and found there isn't a shred of integrity left. We may have tried to be as cool or cruel as those who walk between the raindrops, except we've gotten doused. Have you ever felt that way? Wanted to say things without so much as a by your leave or a polite pardon me to your conscience? Send the old Super-Ego on a well-deserved cruise to the Caribbean while you live on the basis of pure Id -- if it feels good, do it -- and bid responsibility bon voyage at the pier?

Don't worry -- this is just between you and me. I won't tell a soul. No? Okay, well, many have at one time or another, so if this ever should hold true for you, don't feel alone. To be free of moral strictures, to act without consideration, to obtain without cost, to get away with murder. Most of us can't do this and we thank God for it. At the time, we wish we could be unscathed by guilt but later, when we feel loved once again, we're grateful not all our wishes come true.

I do truly believe love is the kiss that breaks this witch's spell. The too cool and so cruel don't know this; broken hearts are never their cup of tea. But if you can't be hurt, you can't love, and if you can't love, you can't live, no matter how much you get away with. This is why the songwriter refuses to live a lie. He's learned, and from him, so can we.

(Fair use of low resolution image of album cover "Let It Rock" via Amazon; utilized in view of the lack of equivalent non-licensed or limited license images able to clarify and draw attention to the song in question. Album copyright 2008 by Cash Money Records; lyrics by Kevin Rudolf, copyright 2008)
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