The last song on Dire Straits' opus Love Over Gold is a fitting finale for what may have been one of the most underrated conceptual works in rock music history. The album is colored with tales of building things only to see them fall into ruins, and this song paints the starkest picture of them all. By the end you can feel the desolation pounding into your head, and yet as dark as this album is, you feel a strange sense of triumph. The song seems to be sung by a jilted lover who is deriving a sense of pleasure from the misfortunes of she who once betrayed him.
I hear the Seven Deadly Sins
and the Terrible Twins came to call on you
the bigger they are babe
the harder they fall on you
and you you're always the same you persevere
on the same old pleasure ground
oh it never rains around here
it just comes pouring down
Sometimes it seems like you have everything. At other times it seems like someone else has it all. Heroes falter and stumble along the way.
There was a girl named Lisa who once had her life shining like gold. It was eventually all but marked for destruction. She was smart. She was beautiful. She was witty, sexy, friendly and in general a wonderful person to be around. She received college scholarships and was entered into the doctoral program in psychology at a college that was revered for said program. She moved away from home, split up with her long time boyfriend and eventually met a new guy in her new city. For several years they stayed together, doing things like any ordinary couple might while he tried to stake his claim in life and she worked on her PhD.
You had no more volunteers
so you got profiteers to help you out
with friends like that babe
good friends you had to do without
and now they've taken the chains and the gears
from off your merry-go-round
oh and it never rains around here
it just comes pouring down
Eventually, she split with the boyfriend from the new city. He found out she had been having numerous affairs and pretended nothing was happening until he found her in the living room at four o'clock in the morning with a teenage kid she worked with. There was no mistaking what games they were playing and he could not look away.
She could not reconcile. She gutted the man with whom she had planned her life of dreams for this young buck, robbing the man both emotionally and financially. She took everything she could and took advantage of his naive sense of honor. She moved on, but her dreams had changed. She moved into a the top floor of a three story house, a "three-decker," on the wrong side of town with the boy. She dropped out of school and began working full time at a job that barely helped make ends meet. She disappeared, leaving the man broken and without hope.
And your new Romeo
was just a gigolo when he let you down
see the faster they are babe
the faster they get out of town
leaving make up stains and the tears of a clown
yes and it never rains around here
it just comes pouring down
The man ran into her several months later in the drug store. The woman who once took great pride in her appearance, from physical fitness to the clothes she wore, had gained nearly fifty pounds and was dressed in a stained t-shirt and shorts that were much too tight. She looked confused and shaky, perhaps worried that he was going to insist on getting back the money she had stolen. He didn't bother. She was buying generic painkillers and anti-itch medicine.
Oh you were just a roller coaster memory
I don't even know why I was even passing through
I saw you make a date with Destiny
when he came here asking after you
in the shadow of the Wheel of Fortune
you're busy trying to clear your name
you say "I may be guilty yeah that may be true
but I'd be lying if I said I was to blame
you see we could have been major contenders
but we never got no money no breaks"
you've got a list of all the major offenders
you got a list of all their major mistakes
and he's just standing in the shadows
yes and you smile that come-on smile
oh I can still hear you say as clear as the day
"I'd like to make it worth your while"
The world of memories left him staring as she walked out of the drug store. She was a shell of the woman she once had been. There had been a time when they celebrated their days and looked forward to the future. Now he was fighting to stay above water financially and Lisa didn't seem to know what day it was. She was falling apart and didn't even notice. There was no fire left in her eyes just as there was no fire in his. He could only watch her walk away and wonder if things would have been different had they stayed the course. Or even if they had not fallen so far off it.
Ah but it's a sad reminder
when your organ grinder has to come to you for rent
and all you've got to give him
is the use of his sideshow tent
yes and that's all that remains of the years
spent doing the rounds
and it never rains around here
well it just comes pouring down
Eventually he forgave her. There was nothing else he could do. You can't hold onto anger, pain and disappointment forever because someday you'll learn to enjoy them too much. You throw another coin in the fountain and wait for the next opportunity life throws your way. Eventually we all watch someone we love destroy themselves. We all see the brilliant sunsets turn to black. The candy dish is empty and the cockroach is left the scavenge for the remains. Before the man moved away he drove past the three-story apartment house where she lived. The yard was overgrown and the paint was peeling. Her car, the same one she had driven eight years earlier, was in the driveway covered with rust and stray cats. It no longer ran, but his car did, so he kept driving past.
Now you know what they say about beggars
you can't complain about the rules
you know what they say about beggars
you know who's the first to blame his tools
you never gave a damn about who you pick up
and leave laying bleeding on the ground
you screw people over on the way up
because you thought that you were never coming down
and he takes you out in Vaudeville Valley
with his hand up covering your screams
and he screws you down in Tin Pan Alley
in the city of a billion dreams
Lyrics as composed by Mark Knopfler
Copyright 1982 Chariscourt Limited
All rights administered by Almo Music Corp. (ASCAP)
Used here with the express intent of increasing sales of this fine album
Free publicity, Mark. It is okay.
No need to sue anyone.
And yes, I really did forgive her