SOTW: Strange by Patsy Cline

I've never been great at keeping up with new music. But even for me it's taking the piss that my SOTW, Strange by Patsy Cline, was literally released in 1962.

Patsy Cline was born in Virginia in 1932 and died at the age of 30 in a plane crash as heavy fog snaked its way through Western Tennessee. At a concert the night before she had worn flowing white chiffon in front of a packed hall where only standing room was available, and told her co-performer Debbie West, who begged her to take the car home instead, 'Don't worry about me, Hoss. When it's my time to go, it's my time.'

Patsy Cline in her prime

Perhaps that night she performed Strange, the warbling tale of a lost lover who 'changed like night and day/ just upped and walked away' after a new girl comes on the scene. The lilting twang of her country background comes out especially strong in lines like 'To think I thought you really loved me/ But look what thoughts can bring' and it's kind of hilarious. Her rich contralto voice has been praised for its emotional expressiveness, but there's also a boldness to it, a steely core. She's hurt and bitter about what this douchebag's done but make no mistake, she's pinned this guy down for what he really is. The swirling piano accompaniment follows the standard '60s heartbreak song' chord progressions, but a rolling tempo and some pretty jaunty backing vocals make it clear she's already well on her way to getting over it.

When my parents decided to separate, I naively thought that the difficult part was over. But returning home now for the holidays over a year later, it still isn't easy. Just as many emails, back and forth to solicitors, distant family members and soon-to-be ex-husbands, still need to be sent. Family photos still need to be unearthed from closets. The aftershocks still reverberate around the house I have lived in since the age of three, where my life was built and eventually had to be torn apart.

The song may have been released 54 years ago, but Patsy has felt no less fresh and important for me this week as a result. Emotional but bold, Strange is about feeling the pain of things going wrong, but not making other people's mistakes your own burden, feeling the pain but keeping your eyes fixed on where you're going. Which is just what I need right now. Cheers, Patsy.

 

Every Wednesday, one of our young contributors picks a Song of the Week; a piece of music that has meant something to them in the past seven days. Get in touch if you have a track to tell us about.