So we’re starting things off with a marital infidelity song. What makes this song stand out from your garden-variety cheatin’-bastard lament is that (a) the POV here is the other woman’s, and (b) it features the throaty vocals of the peerless Tanya Tucker, which on their own are enough to put any song a cut above.
What makes this song go from notable to transcendent for me is the second verse . The protagonist is alone on Christmas; her lover is with his family. Her desperation reaches the boiling point, and she calls him, knowing full well that she won’t get past voice mail. She’s resigned herself to the small consolation of hearing his voice; the need is that intense. It’s a cutting illustration of preoccupation magnified by loneliness, and it makes me feel pathetic by proxy every single time. It’s…I’m not explaining this well.
Listen to the second verse. See if it doesn’t strike a chord that you’d just as soon never be allowed to resound again. We’ve all had a relationship where we’re so unhappy with life, and the other party so withholding, that we narrow everything down to that one tiny aspect, and behave accordingly — even if only in adolescence . Even if it wasn’t a romantic relationship.
But wait! There’s more.
I’m throwing in this bonus video. It would simply be irresponsible for me to have a conversation about anything relating to Tanya Tucker without showing this video, if only as a footnote. I was in love with this song I was 6. Hell, I’m in love with it now. That bridge is absolutely irresistible: when she croons “Baaaby” and “Hoooney,” I get a flood of serotonin about on par with your average hit of Ecstasy.
I am also unabashedly in love with the video, if only for nostalgic reasons. If I’m allocating the blame for my failed attempt at heterosexuality on a percentage basis, those shots where she’s in black lace and throwing her head back in mock movie star pain are getting 10%, bare minimum.