Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Francis Dunnery “Good Life”

Call it the 3rd Act Problem.

I read The AV Club pretty regularly, and they had a pretty interesting piece, where they asked the writers on the site to name a movie that was great for the first two-thirds, but blew it in the final stretch.

Some of the films failed because they switched tone, or had an improbable or cloying plot twist. For whatever reason, the film, which had been on it’s way to becoming a fave, fell flat.

I don’t think “Good Life” falls flat. I think it’s a great song, through and through. But I can’t quite connect, because of a 3rd Act problem.

I’m with the song in the first verse. It’s a break-up song, and I really like the gentle, realistic scene it portrays. It’s not a “fuck you you fucking Fuck” break-up tune. He simply says “I’m not meant for you and you’re not meant for me.” And he wishes her happiness and good relationships going forward.

That’s me. I worked hard to burn few bridges in my life. And I have rarely heard that reflected in song.

So in the middle of "Good Life," he gets married to someone, but he tells his old girl that there’s someone for her, and she’ll be okay.

I’m still with him. I wish nothing but the best for the people of my past.

But here comes the 3rd Act.

Now she’s married with children, and suddenly he’s overcome with regret, and suddenly he’s calling her on the phone. He still wishes her a good life, but the strummy tone of the song, goes from sweet and wistful, to smelling a little to much like self-pity. He wants her back, but it's too late.

And while that's a real scene for many folks---wanting the girl back---I'm happy to say that I don't have any regrets. I'm married and have kids and have been happy to live in the universe of the second verse.

This is a song that could potentially remind me of a number of ex’s, but I can’t claim it. It belongs to Francis. He takes it back in the 3rd Act.

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