366 Songs 259: He’d Be A Diamond

I love love songs that aren’t actually love songs. Does that make sense? Songs that are filled with affection and adoration and love but which don’t profess “I love you” or speak to traditional romantic relationships. “He’d Be A Diamond” is one of those for me, and one of my favorite songs of all time, a warning between friends about a boyfriend who may not be the best, with everything both intimate and ambiguous. Is the singer warning the listener away from getting back with an ex – “Is he lying/To get what he wants/Or does he mean it this time?” – or trying to persuade them to give it one more chance? “And though you feel like shit/He says you look beautiful,” after all.

The version I heard first was the Teenage Fanclub cover – It’s originally a Beavis Frond song, as heard at the top of the post – but my favorite version is probably Mary Lou Lord’s, who manages to make the intimacy and friendliness of the whole thing even more apparent. Plus, for some reason, the line about “Is he running/Low on affection/And beer and dope/And an ironing board/And an unpaid analyst who shags?” seems so much funnier coming from her.