Everything I Want

Lyrics

I got everything I could
When the gettin’ was good
I had something on the side
I had a dirty, sweet ride

I had the world on a string (when you weren’t getting jack)
I took everything I want (you ain’t getting it back)
You bet the house on red when it came up on black
(Just like I knew that it would)

Now you watch me disappear
Every time that you get near
When you think I’m over there
When I’m really over here

I had the world on a string (when you weren’t getting jack)
I took everything I want (you ain’t getting it back)
You bet the house on red when it came up on black
(Just like I knew that it would)

I had everything I need
When I saw you on your knees
I had something on the side
I had a dirty, sweet ride

I had the world on a string (when you weren’t getting jack)
I took everything I want (you ain’t getting it back)
You bet the house on red when it came up on black
(Just like I knew that it would)

Now you watch me disappear
Every time that you get near
When you think I’m over there
When I’m really over here

I had the world on a string (when you weren’t getting jack)
I took everything I want (you ain’t getting it back)
You bet the house on red when it came up on black
(Just like I knew that it would)

Thoughts

One of my rare forays into the blues idiom, this song is – I guess – about what we call ‘The Rich’. Most blues songs are, of course, sung from the perspective of the poor man, so I flipped that idea on its head to write a sort of rich man’s blues.

And it’s actually pretty fucking mean-spirited: about a point of view that exults in the damage resulting from the general strip mining of the population that seems to have happened over the last 20 years. Power and wealth accumulates into a steadily smaller set of hands, and those hands seemingly belong to people who have little empathy for the people on whose wealth their own depends: potentates, oligarchs, the unaccountable gods of the tech sector – the people who offshore their money, hide their incomes, and enjoy ostentatious displays of their wealth and power in their playgrounds around the world (looking at you, London, for example).

I’m probably projecting a lot here: I imagine that the majority of the super wealthy probably pay their taxes, and do more good than they ever get credit for in terms of job creation, charity and so on, but at the same time – and I’m not exactly a fucking communist – the disparity of riches seems sometimes dizzying and bewildering.

Should someone who effectively runs a website – however efficiently – really be earning a million times what a cleaner, nurse, or optician does? You can make theoretical or moral arguments either way, but the last decade since the Great Financial Crisis (to which the song openly alludes) has seen, if anything, an acceleration towards a complete division between ‘the few’ and ‘the many’. It’s all part of the simmering ocean of bile that constitutes our popular culture, and yet there are no easy answers other than to beat on the door in rage until your fists are bloody.

So, I guess you’d say this song really comes from a place of misanthropy: another unhappy song about an unhappy subject.

Musically, it is more or less a minor twelve bar blues, enlivened by two double time instrumental interludes and some coruscating guitars that I didn’t play. I sort of like and hate this song at the same time – primarily because of the nastiness of the lyrics, which both appeals to and appalls me.

I’m ambivalent about my talents at the best of times, and this is the song of my output that troubles me: part idiomatic musical exercise, part incoherent screed, and part playfully groovy song.

I should probably get some sun, is what I’m saying.

 

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