366 Songs 052: Say Yes

Ignoring the fact that this is one of the sweetest songs ever recorded – and made all the moreso, in my opinion, by the fact that it’s not overly saccharine or simplistic; “It’s always been/ Wait and see/A happy day/And then you pay/And feel like shit/The morning after” is a lovely little section, embracing the ambivalence of relationships in the same way as “I didn’t know/I’d be around/The morning after” – with a simple and lovely little tune, what truly stole my heart while hearing “Say Yes” by Elliott Smith for the first time was the bridge that starts at 1:32, with the doubletracked vocal splitting in two while another dub comes in (To my ears, at least, there are three vocals by this point, but I may be wrong) and the vocal melody just… I want to say unfolds, but that’s wrong and there’s probably a million different, more correct, ways to put it. Nonetheless, hearing the voices rise and fall with the ridiculously emo but still affecting lines “I’m damaged/Bad at best/She’ll decide what she wants” pretending to offer nonchalantness in the face of relationship uncertainty and optimism is the kind of thing that really gets to me, being the wuss I am (“I’ll probably be the last to know/No-one says until it shows/See how it is/They want you or they don’t,” followed by the simple, honest “Say yes.” Oh, man, I’m a mushy mess already).

Also worth pointing out: This song contains the one piece of lyrical advice I try to remember at all bad times. “Situations get fucked up/But turned around, sooner or later.” I’m always counting on that latter half.