Thursday 25 June 2020

Stuff On My Phone (31)

Other blog series have taken more of a central role on Imperfect and Tense during the pandemic lockdown, but I haven't forgotten Stuff On My Phone.

Today's offering is a Bruce Hornsby and the Range track, The Way It Is, released in September 1986 and from the album of the same name.

Way back in the Autumn of 1986, Our Lass and I were living in Germany (well, West Germany, as it was then), and about to discover that we were going to be a family. So, what with one thing and another, music wasn't necessarily on my radar at the time.

I was aware of this song though, primarily for the piano solos (yes, plural, there's two), but as I wasn't an avid collector of singles, that's about as far as my interest went.

Fast forward to recent times, and the ability to download individual tracks, and the memory resurfaced just how much I enjoyed this tune. After adding it to the playlist on my phone, I listened to the words properly for the first time, which gave me a whole new reason to love the song. Bruce Hornsby was writing about wealth inequality, racial segregation and lack of civil rights, highlighting that things do not have to be that way, and yet, on recent evidence, we have actually gone backwards when perhaps we could've reasonably expected to have made much more progress on these societal issues.

A video of the band performing the song can be viewed here.

The Way It Is by Bruce Hornsby

Standing in line, marking time
Waiting for the welfare dime
'Cause they can't buy a job
The man in the silk suit hurries by
As he catches the poor old ladies' eyes
Just for fun he says, "get a job"
That's just the way it is
Some things will never change
That's just the way it is
Ah, but don't you believe them
Said, hey little boy you can't go where the others go
'Cause you don't look like they do
Said, hey old man how can you stand
To think that way
Did you really think about it
Before you made the rules?
He said, "son
That's just the way it is
Some things will never change
That's just the way it is
Ah, but don't you believe them"
Oh yeah
well, they passed a law in '64
To give those who ain't got a little more
But it only goes so far
Because the law don't change another's mind
When all it sees at the hiring time
Is the line on the color bar, no, no
That's just the way it is
And some things will never change
That's just the way it is
That's just the way it is, it is, it is, it is

The song has since been covered and sampled by other musicians, most notably E-40, 2Pac and Undercover. Meantime, just enjoy the harmony of a piano's ebony and ivory keys.


Mark said...

Great Pianist, perfect technique - just check out that bridge, textbook! Nice song very summery, I do remember it.

Imperfect and Tense said...

Yup, great tune, deep sentiment.

Alyson said...

Gosh, didn't really take too much heed of these lyrics first time around but yes, sadly apt for today. I think we've been going backwards for some time now and the next few months are going to be tough I think for many people.

Imperfect and Tense said...

Thank goodness for music to relieve the tedium of seemingly constant bad news.