The early king of rock-ballads Roy Orbison.
Orbison is best know for tracks like " Oh, Pretty Woman" and "Only the Lonely
Hey everyone, this is another new series I am going to be debuting that will take a look at specific track each and every week. Some of these will be songs of the past and others will be recent cuts that I think deserve some spotlighting. Look for these "track attacks" to appear each and every Tuesday (excepting of course for this one).
For the first installment of the series, I wanted to look at Roy Orbison's "It's Over," originally released in 1964. By that point in time, Orbison had already been seen as the king of the "operatic rock ballad," churning out somber songs like "In Dreams," and "Falling" with relative ease. While many still viewed those massive Ray-Ban Wayfarers as Orbison's projection of cool, others were catching on. They had to be hiding the perpetual tears he was crying when performing these numbers. Sure, others had done love songs before, but not like Orbison. When Orbison took on a song, he approached it like a man whose heart had just been shattered. A man so overwrought with love and loss, that he could hardly contain himself. Coupled with that voice of his, you had a recipe for melancholy that few then and even less now could approximate.
"Love Hurts"- Roy Orbison
For my money, nowhere is that more apparent than on "It's Over." Even when compared to past "epic" Orbison songs, this one seemed more grandiose. The irony of all this is that the epic music on the track, with heart-stopping percussive backing, only serves to further highlight the frailty of Orbison's words. "Your baby doesn't love you any more, Golden days before they end, Whisper secrets to the wind, Your baby wont be near you any more." The ruse of Orbison singing to someone else wears off quickly though and we soon wise up to the words.
At first glance, Orbison seems a sage, predicting exactly what will happen to the unnamed subject, then in one line he tips his hand and we now know he's consoling himself. "It breaks your heart in two, to know shes been untrue." In the context of this cut, Orbison is so utterly wounded he can only cope by essentially lying to himself. So he shunts all his sorrow, imparting words of wisdom perhaps to protect himself in future, perhaps to escape if only in his mind.
Anyone that's ever been in Orbison's place can't fault him, in situations this solemn we would much rather play pretend, than confront the pain that plagues us. Predictably, like most of us, Orbison can't contain his illusion. Eventually, it all tumbles down leaving us with a "lonely sunset," as Orbison belts one final time "it's over, it's over." As the song stops with one final drum roll, we are now more confused than ever. What's over? Is Orbison's confusion gone? His sorrow? His love? What? In the end, it's that sublime simplicity of knowing that "it's over." The mindset we all adopt to come to terms with our pain at one point or another, like Orbison we so desperately cling to "it" being over, without ever knowing what "it" is.