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Radio Cure: by Wilco (words and music: Jeff Tweedy)
Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, 2002.

Cheer up, honey, I hope you can
There is something wrong with me
My mind is filled with silvery stuff
Honey kisses, clouds of fluff
Shoulders shrugging off

Cheer up, honey, I hope you can
There is something wrong with me
My mind is filled with radio cures
Electronic surgical words
Picking apples for kings and queens
of things I've never seen

Oh, distance has no way of making love understandable

Cheer up, honey, I hope you can
There is something wrong with me
My mind is filled with silvery stars
Honey kisses, clouds of love
Picking apples for the kings and queens
of things I've never seen

Oh, distance has no way of making love understandable

Cheer up, honey, I hope you can...


The ghostly heartbeat of a bass drum, over which floats organs and dissonance. And his voice quivers as he sings over a bass line and barely audible accoustic guitars, until suddenly it breaks into a full melody, full orchestration of guitars, drum, bass, organ: "Oh, distance has no way of making love understandable."

Few guys can string together what seems like nonsense and have it convey meaning and emotion. Bob Dylan is the king, of course. John Lennon could do it, but not as seriously. Michael Stipe and Beck can, and so can Thom Yorke, though there is often an ironic edge. Jeff Tweedy, though, can do it too. Because suddenly there is this piece of truth that shines through the surreal images--"Distance has no way of making love understandable." For as long as you are together, as long as you are apart, in the end, I don't think you ever really understand exactly what happened, how to convey your own feelings, how to figure out why it had to end the way it did. Why didn't things end differently? Time and distance doesn't make things clear.

Why is this called "Radio Cure"? I don't really know. All I know is that the radio can cure loneliness, or at least comfort it, while you spend those long nights by yourself, driving, laying in bed alone, dreaming, thinking of things that are past or distant.


The condom broke. There was panic. We made our way to Planned Parenthood. It was the right thing to do. I sat as the girl explained to me how to use the pills--"two with some food, and two more exactly twelve hours later." I nodded. Paid the $35 or so. We left and went to a diner to get some lunch. I wasn't hungry, but I ate. He always paid. He held my hand after I took the two pills. And we went back to my house, where he stayed for the next four hours.

He started kissing me; I didn't expect he'd want to have sex at that point, but suddenly we were on my bed, and his arms around me, holding me, touching me the way no one ever really had. It seemed right. It seemed natural. And this album was playing, this song was playing, as we laid there, as he held me. And I thought it was sadly beautiful, sadly wonderful, and I couldn't understand if it was a sad song, or a hopeful one. For this guy was still in love, even if that love was distant, even if she was gone or he was, that mutable emotion remained.

And I let that stray thought cross me--"I do love him; what if we did have a kid?" But I never said it. And it was the right thing to do, to never say it. I didn't know he'd leave in two months. I didn't know he'd be gone so soon.

Distance has no way of making love understandable.

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