But I Do

I’m a huge fan of Chet Baker, especially when he sings or performs with orchestra. One of my favorites is a mopey ballad called “Everything Happens to Me,” written by Tom Adair and Matt Dennis. It hilariously bemoans the unrequited love of the unluckiest person in the world: “I’ve telegraphed and phoned / I sent an Airmail Special too / Your answer was ‘Goodbye’ / And there was even postage due.”

I pick up a little of that vibe in my new song, “But I Do.” It all started with a musical phrase that suggested the lyric, “You don’t, but I do.” From there I spun the tale of a melancholic pessimist who is either lying awake thinking about the latest catastrophe or anticipating the next one. The only solace for our hapless protagonist is that living a life of angst and disappointment is more interesting than the lives of those who are confident and content.

So get your mope on with “But I do”!

1. Do you have sleepless nights?
Well, I do.
Wake up still in a crisis?
Me, too!
After all these years, you’d think
that I would have learned.
But every day I seem to sink
from bad to worse.
Oh, aren’t you lying awake
like I do?
Maybe you don’t,
but I do.

2. Have you figured life out?
Well, not me.
You’re so sure of yourself,
well, we’ll see.
You exude such confidence,
such charm, and such poise.
You’ve got the brains and looks, for sure,
but you’re boring.
Maybe perfect’s a tad annoying.
But maybe that’s just me.

3. No one wallows in angst
like I do.
Morose or just being frank?
Well, you choose.
If I walk the sunny side
of the street it will rain.
I try to see the glass half full,
but empty’s winning.
You don’t wait for the next shoe·
to drop, too.
Well, you don’t, but I do.

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