Perfect: “If I Can’t Change Your Mind,” by Sugar
by Jim Withington
How can I explain away
Something that I haven’t done
And if you can’t trust me now
You’ll never trust in anyone
–Sugar, “If I Can’t Change Your Mind”
Typical review: witty summary, narrow it down, pick out a few songs, wrap it up in a nice bow.
Not this time. This time, the lyrics first. The above lyrics occur at a point in the song when you’d guess maybe Mould will drop the chorus another time, maybe repeat a verse or some other time-honored/slightly lazy trick, it’ll end, and it’ll be pretty good. But then! A curve ball near-ending–a verse that comes in at a time when you’re like, “man, how could any song be this great?”–and we’re off.
“How can I explain away/Something that I haven’t done?” Chills.
“And if you can’t trust me now/You’ll never trust in anyone.”
Does he have you yet?
There’s a point in every (failed?) relationship when things have been said that you didn’t want to say, or things have been done you’ve moved beyond regretting–things you wish you wouldn’t have had the capacity to do. So often in rock songwriting, we get the perspective of the jilted whatever, or the angry ex, or the “take me back/please come back” plea.
But how often is there complication? How often do we see “With all the crazy doubts you’ve got/I love you even still?” This song is chilling partly because it’s unique. It takes the specificity of “you will find a different person if you change your mind,” throws that awesome 90’s Moüld guitar sound behind it, and builds the perfect three minute pop song.
If I can’t change your mind then no one will.
I’ve got about 9000 songs in iTunes, and about ten of them have made the “Perfect” playlist.
This is one of them.