Listen to this song by unabashedly pop singer-songwriter Marshall Crenshaw. It’s the lead track off of his 1982 self-titled debut Marshall Crenshaw – “There She Goes Again”, which is possibly the most optimistic and well-adjusted break-up song ever written.
If you imagine that Elvis Costello or Graham Parker had sunnier dispositions, you might also imagine that they might sound a little like Marshall Crenshaw, who penned the songs on his first album as a means of making a pure pop record that made people feel good. Where the brilliance of Costello’s My Aim is True and Parker’s Howling Wind as debut albums can’t be denied, Crenshaw’s debut let’s the sun shine in while drawing on very similar influences.
Perhaps it’s Crenshaw’s American ‘can do’ attitude. Or maybe he was still reeling from having played the part of John Lennon in the first off-broadway run of the stage show Beatlemania before he cut his record. Still, whatever the reason, the album and particularly this song, lays out an optimistic worldview while at the same time avoiding patronizing his audience with lyrical platitudes.
This is my favourite Crenshaw tune. It’s the tale of a guy thrown over by a former love, yet completely without the self-pity that often goes along with it in pop songs. The guy is still in love with her. Yet he knows that she will never be happy with him, searching as she is for something he can’t give her. So he wishes her well, and let’s her go without malice. You’d think that there’d be little drama in a tale like that. But there’s still a struggle to get over her, watching her chase her empty dreams with ‘another guy’. Where a lesser tune might heep feelings of misery upon the narrator, Crenshaw turns this expectation on its head. Because he loves her, he’s sad that she can’t find happiness.
Apart from all of that is the tune, which often gets stuck in my head, as do many tunes off of this album which draws from Buddy Holly (whom he would portray in the 1987 movie La Bamba) and the early Beatles as main influences. Plus, Crenshaw pulls off a storming version of Arthur Alexander’s ‘Soldier of Love’ from 1962, which couldn’t have been viewed as a commercial move even back in 1982. Yet, Crenshaw would follow his own path from this point forward, never really finding a place in the A-list pop-rock pantheon, yet still remaining a respected figure as a classic guitar-pop songwriter among a tight circle of devoted fans.
For more information and music about Marshall Crenshaw, check out the Marshall Crenshaw website for more news and fan goodies.