“Everybody needs some time on their own” These are words in one of my favorite songs of all time, yep! I know it’s freaking weird; Guns and freaking Roses!
November Rain is a totally awe defining beautiful song and though its been twenty-one years, it still takes me back to the day and moment when I first heard it. The music and song itself has transcended time and broken music stereotypes.
Let me take you back in time to 1991, Houston, Texas. I was twenty three years old and and between jobs. Eventually I got a baby sitting gig in upscale River Oaks with two wonderful boys; I’ll call them Matt and Cody. They got me hooked on hard rock and many other oddities.
The rock was not so bad, but when a grown woman becomes the Dungeon Master in an underground kingdom, living under threat of being over thrown and assassinations; then something’s got to be seriously wrong. Adorable devilish little boys… hard rock and imaginary kingdoms? Oh well…my life was full back then.
Let’s get back to November Rain. That the song blew my mind back then, was no surprise at all. The lyrics is sheer passion, confusion, lust and love all mixed together. What you get out of this, is absolute bliss! A euphoric state almost describable as orgasmic.
Listening to the song, I was transported to that arena I tell you. Sitting there watching Axl play the solo concerto on the piano was mind blowing. The place was crammed with screaming voices. Tear streaked red faced teenage girls howling with frenzy and teenage boys standing on their seats belting the lyrics along with Axl.
Axl sings about not wanting to deal with unrequited love. Young hearts unsure of their path…one minute consumed and the next confused. It took living, feeling, flying and falling, but there is hope. The guy is the philosopher and lover craving and seeking assurance from the woman he loves. He needs to know if she will always love him and the girl is a troubled spirit; seeking love where she thinks she can find it. She has love to give but for some reason keeps holding back. Past hurts continues to haunt her.
He notice’s doubts and begins to ask “do you think you need some time all alone?” and in reassurance to himself, he concludes “Everybody needs some time on their own”
Nothing lasts forever, this he knows. He sees his love’s unsure heart, weary of hope and begins to wonder, will he last in this state? Can his love last forever? Can he bear or survive more rejections?
The song takes another route here, he begins to analyze; could they last? They being him and his desire for her? What if his heart gets weary, what guarantee is there she would turn to him? Nothing lasts forever, not even the November rains. All this is in his head, remember his love is yet to commit. Does she not realize that loving oneself is the real beginning of true love?
Overwhelmed with hope, he urges her on, “Come on he says…if you got to love, do it with all you got!” this quote is mine of course. The song says” So if you wanna love me, darling don’t refrain.”
Next comes the guitar solo part that blew my mind away, in comes Slash to play and boy did he play this thing like magic.
Slash is one of few electric guitarists that excel at playing this instrument. And in November Rain…Slash did what only Slash could do in such a way that rhythmically sends the mind to a vibrating chamber where it’s trapped in bliss until reality returns when he disconnects. I rate him amongst the greats of these time (my take folks, lol).
Through the rest of the song, Axl’s voice and words continue to convey passion, emotion and love for his woman. He wants commitment from her, “No half measures baby, love with all you got, nothing lasts forever”, I could almost hear him say. Her only option is to trust his love and fly with it. This young man, the lover, has a big heart, or maybe it was me; he refuses to give up on this girl. His philosophy is quite simple, how hard can it be to make up a mind? As the song progresses he becomes more besotted and she wanders even further away, making him wonder if they will ever be.
I used to shed a tear or two just imagining the torture his heart went through, loving someone afraid to love you back. We all know the song and the song writer’s interpretation of this tragic love song, but I of course take a different stance in this. This is where my imaginations take the bigger hold and turned a few things around.
I imagined it all…the parents, friends, family, the whole town. The chapel is packed and vows exchanged. The crowd cheered and they seal love with a kiss. Hearts beating as one they jump into the car, off to the city for a week of honey moon. Typical hopeless romantic take right?
Lover boy always believed that the moment is all one has. Live one to the next because nothing is promised forever. So off to love country he takes her, a place where nothing but them exist and as long as the heart is not afraid to go on, they will face whatever together.
So I am tossed back to reality once again as the song goes on, it meanders into a musical monologue here, as the orchestra comes in. The violins, brass and clarinets do their thing and of course the flutes and guitars with Axl on his piano.
It began like a whisper, and gradually the build up begins and tempo picks up until everything explodes in full crescendo. The moment was electrifying with screaming girls in fainting spells.
Spellbound and grief struck, I stood holding my breath; everything pictured in my head was too much to bear. They played the heck out of those instruments, conveying the poor guys grief so intently I had goosebumps on my skin.
In a mood filled with pain, fury, nostalgia and bliss; Axl played and bleed the piano dry!
Amidst the noise and frenzied screams, I sat enthralled by this band. Eye’s closed and mesmerized by the combination of my own imagery and the sensational performance of the band, I ponder on “nothing lasting forever.”
I smile as I write this, “November Rain” is playing in the background. What a sweet disaster they were, those two. I have a happier take on this one though; Love does not have to, has no need to hurt so much!
It takes love to tell such a beautiful tale and only love could evoke such warming words, made better even in music. The piano was the channel and love the catalyst to a most befitting, albeit heart wrenching tribute to love.
There will always be great loves, some reciprocated and some unrequited. The one thing I can say for sure is that LOVE DOES ALWAYS GO ON!
Liaisons may end, but love never ends. It always manages to find an object to desire, cherish and fall head over hills for, if you will excuse the cliche.