The next song, If You See Her, Say Hello came on (link takes you to Hurricane because there are few original Dylan recordings on Youtube and I liked that movie. It's by a million miles the best Dylan song, anyway). Husky-voiced Bob Dylan starts singing. I'm starting to think that husky voices are inherently sad. "If you see her, say hello," he warbles. So far, so sad. It's obviously going to be a song about lost love. Everyone can relate to that. It's a genius opening line, in fact. I've already got my line ready for the blog - HE HAD ME AT HELLO. But there's more to the song. "If you see her, say hello. She might be in Tangiers." Huh? Tangiers? Why is she there? That's weird, isn't it? Why does she want to go there? How does he know she's there? Why does he say might? She might be in Tangiers. Is that based on her credit card activity? Did she have family in Morocco? He could have said, 'she might be in Africa'. That'd be more likely, statistically. So what's all this uncertain specificity? Perplexity dried up my tears.
The next song was Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm by the Crash Test Dummies. It's easy to see how people are affected by the song. It's deep and dark and the lyrics are at once staggeringly specific yet movingly universal. "Once there was this kid who got into an accident and couldn't come to school. But when he finally came back, his hair had turned from black into bright white." Has any other lyric ever made us more aware of the immediacy of our own deaths?
I wasn't crying - it was just the bath bubbles stinging my eye. Many other songs came and went. Most were legitimately emotional: I Just Can't Get You Out of My Head, I Kissed a Girl, Smile, Hollaback Girl, Reading a Book, and every Bob Dylan song ever released in France.
But then came the sucker punch: NSYNC's Bye Bye Bye. At the start, keyboards swell for just a moment, but then it's BAM! Right into the beat. Right into the words. "I loved you endlessly when you weren't there for me, so now it's time to leave and make it alone." My tears dropped into the wispy foam of my peach-scented bath bubbles. Why was I crying? What did this song stir inside me? Obviously, like Cecile, I'd had to walk away from dysfunctional relationships before, and it's always sad. But not sad enough to make me cry, surely? Then it hit me - this was the song that presaged Justin Timberlake's departure from NSYNC and his focus on a solo career. "Time to leave and make it alone." For me and Cecile, hardcore NSYNC fans, truly the day the music died.