Josh and I like to switch it up sometimes and instead of picking two separate songs, we write on the same one. This week we've selected "Burn" which is best known off 1997's The Crow soundtrack. Personally I think the entire movie should have been set to a score by The Cure. I can't think of a better band to encompass the damp, dark, somber, morose mood of the film, which is exacerbated by the fact the emerging young star Brandon Lee died during filming.
Driving bass and birdlike screeching start us off on this adventure that quickly amps up and prepares us for Robert Smith's voice that is both commanding and pleading in its delivery. This is one of those songs that grabs you immediately not only with the lyrics but, musically as well. I could easily listen to all six-plus minutes of this song without any lyrics and it would still be as powerful and gripping.
When I wrote this a week ago my portion had a different feel to it as I was as dark and morose as the tone of the song. I loved and lost and burned myself with my own flame. I was feeling the sting of that for a couple weeks but, my friends, clarity and reason come when you're ready for it and I've decided I'm not the one who is burning this week. I'm singed but mostly unscathed, wrestling with my demons only and no longer drowning under someone else's expectations and need to be in control. He (of course it's a he!) clearly never listened to these lyrics:
Don't look, don't look, the shadows breathe
Whispering me away from you
Don't wake at night to watch her sleep
You know that you will always lose
This trembling, adored, tousled bird mad girl...
Accept everyone in your life for who they already are, not who you want them to be and not even who you know they can become. Love and support them as they are in this moment. Looking back on my brief encounter with this person, I see the good times were fluffed up in my mind and made into more than what it was or could ever be not only because he couldn't accept who he chose, but because he couldn't accept himself, as well.
Oh don't talk of love, the shadows purr
Murmuring me away from you
Don't talk of worlds that never were
The end is all that's ever true
There's nothin' you can ever say
Nothin' you can ever do...
When it's all said and done the only thing both parties will ever agree on is that it's ended. The who, what, where, why, and other assorted details will remain disputed and that's okay. You're going to burn, and when you do, burn brightly, pull yourself out of the ashes and carry on.
Most star-studded movie soundtracks suck righteously but the one for The Crow is that rare exception- a fact that took years to discover because I couldn't stop listening to its first track, "Burn." More years later than I'm willing to count, I can still listen obsessively to this song and all its moody menace and sonic brilliance.
Layers of quivering, tremolo sounds and syncopated polyrhythms create an uneasy, nocturnal, narcotic feel, leading us to stagger through the ominous underworld of a dark romance. "Burn" is built more on texture and rhythm than melody and Smith uses this to great effect. The repetitive, churning, grinding sounds create tension and fatigue, voiced so well when Smith sighs, "sleep awhile you must be tired." I've rewound to that line in the song almost as many times as I've listened to the song itself; there's just something in the way he sings that line that slays me every time.
"Burn" is sonically different from much of The Cure catalog and thus wouldn't have been a great candidate for a proper album but lyrically it fits alongside Robert Smith's best songs of obsession and desperation. To that end, look at the similarities and differences in the first two choruses:
Every night I burn, every night I call your name
Every night I burn, every night I fall again
Every night I burn, every night I scream your name
Every night I burn, every night the dream's the same
He escalates from calling out to screaming, yet he continues to fall and dream the same dream over again. Desperation. Obsession. Need. Haunted and doomed. This song is a fucking masterpiece and the standard by which every other song on The Crow soundtrack is judged. There are many fantastic tracks but none top the tune that starts it all.