Lyric of the Day #3 comes from Rodriguez, the subject of the 2012 Oscar winner for best documentary, "Searching for Sugar Man."
Often likened to Bob Dylan, Rodriguez's 1970s career was met with minimal initial success in the US (shortly after releasing two albums, he returned to work as a construction foreman). However, unbeknownst to him at the time, his politically charged tunes became massively popular in South Africa, where local legend claimed that he committed suicide during a show, explaining his disappearance from the music scene. It wasn't until the late '90s that he began to realize his fame and revive his career.
Here's the lyric, from "Cause," off of 1971's "Coming from Reality."
"Cause my heart's become a crooked hotel full of rumors,
But it's I who pays the rent
For these fingered-face out-of-tuners
And I make sixteen solid half-hour friendships
This is not straight-forward stuff; I don't have a great idea of what the Detroit-born musician is talking about. At the very least, the words sound good together, and sometimes that's enough. The inflections of his voice make it sound like he's about to say a "crooked hotel full of rooms", only to adjust at the last moment to the even-better "rumors."
But there definitely is something here beyond pure aesthetics. As a Mexican American, Rodriguez has spoken about feelings of inequality and social distance from others around him. He feels that he pays their--those 'out-of-tune' to the racism subjected to minorities--rent: working hard for their enjoyment, maybe only as a puppet on a string, instead of being seen as a human being (by those who fill his heart with mere rumors, instead of real love).
And the sixteen solid half-hour friendships? The best part of the whole song? Is he happy that the friendships are solid? Or disappointed that they are so transient? Surely this duality is something we can all relate to - thankful for what we have, but frustrated by what is lacking. That's all I've got with this one. But I would love to know more.