Yes, it’s the theme song to House, in its instrumental form, with the lovely, fragile music falling and climbing as piano chords interfere, crashing heavily and providing some structure to the whole thing. But without the vocals from Liz Frazer, this is just a pretty tune that hints at foreboding; what makes “Teardrop” so wonderful are the words, for me.
“Love/Love is a verb/Love is a doing word,” she sings at the start, the most direct lyrics in a song full of hint and tease. We can guess from the lyric and delivery that “It’s tumbling down” isn’t something good, sure, but what exactly does “Teardrop on the fire/Of a confession/Fearless on my breath” mean, exactly? The same with “Water is my eye/Most faithful mirror.” It’s all emotional echolalia, in a way; words coming out, repeated, and they all mean something but that meaning isn’t clear. That adds to the weight of the song, though; the idea of tragedy that you not only can’t prevent (“It’s tumbling down!”), but can’t even grasp fully.
That most people now – myself included – can’t hear the start of the song without thinking of House is a shame. It deserves better.
Here’s a really nice cover version, to send you on your way, from Jose Gonzalez: