"Diary Hard"


Most of the places I shop play Oldies of various demographics on their in-store “Muzak”, and I have had several “I haven’t heard this in ages” experiences recently. But the most jarring was hearing the song “Diary” by the group Bread. Now I was as relieved as anyone when Bread was usurped as ‘wimpiest pop group in the rock era’ by Air Supply, whose consecutive hits of “Lost in Love” and “All Out of Love” clinched the title in record time.

In addition to a style that defined the oxymoronic “Soft Rock”, Bread was also infamous for its very erudite lyrics in an era when erudition was not (and frankly still isn’t) a big plus. They made one attempt to counter that image with “Baby I’m-A Want You”, which to me, just sounded like a mistake. But still, hearing the lyrics to “Diary” sung again while in the Frozen Foods department showed me that this one song was not just erudite, it really was totally wimpy. secret diary

I found her diary underneath a tree.
And started reading about me.

Okay, this starts out a little creepy. I mean who goes snooping into another person’s diary? Of course, nowadays when you DON’T want to keep a secret, you write it in a blog, so the dead-tree diaries are rarer and much more obviously meant to be kept secret than they used to be. I was rather young when this song came out but I do NOT honestly recall ‘leaving your diary underneath a tree’ being the pre-internet equivalent of putting it on YouTube.

The words she’s written took me by surprise
You’d never read them in her eyes.

Now this should have been the first warning sign.

They said that she had found the love she waited for.
Wouldn’t you know it, she wouldn’t show it.

At this point, you already know this is not going to wendell end well.

When she, confronted with the writing there,
Simply pretended not to care,
I passed it off as just in keeping with
Her total disconcerting air.

Now that has to be one of the most perfectly grammatically structured quatrains in the history of Pop Music. Note the use of the subordinate clause “confronted with the writing there”, and the complex prepositional “just in keeping with”, not to mention the 25¢ word “disconcerting”; nobody in Rock and Roll does things like that. (And probably for good reason).

And though she tried to hide
The love that she denied,
Wouldn’t you know it, she wouldn’t show it.

That’s one for the Department of Redundancy Department.
In fact, it’s a TRIPLE redundancy (“tried to hide” “denied” “wouldn’t show it”). Sigh.

And as I go through my life, I will give to her, my wife,
All the sweet things that I can find.

After all, if she’s already planning the wedding, then he can start planning the honeymoon. That’s the way they did things in 1972, right?

I found her diary underneath a tree.
And started reading about me.

Repetition? No, a later incident of diary snooping. Still an invasion of privacy, even if she really loves him, but again, it was 1972… But wait…

The words began to stick and tears to flow.
Her meaning now was clear to see.
The love she’d waited for was someone else, not me

In the eloquent words of Ashton Kutcher (or somebody who wrote his character’s dialogue in “That 70’s Show”) BURN!


Cue the Dramatic Gopher

Wouldn’t you know it, she wouldn’t show it.

Of course, now, in retrospect, it’s clear that she WAS showing exactly how she felt. But I still love the phrase “disconcerting air”… I wish I’d known a woman with a disconcerting air, rather than some of the personality flaws I have had to dealt with…

And as I go through my life, I will wish for her, his wife,
All the sweet things that she can find
All the sweet things they can find

Give this guy the GOOD SPORT OF THE 70S Award because if this had happened to me, I’d never have the nerve to show my face anywhere near her again. I’d have moved out of state.

What? You don’t remember/never heard this song? Here ya go…

2 Comments (so far) about

"Diary Hard"

  1. Jen Says:

    Like anyone else growing up in pre-ipod days, yeah, I had to endure all the treacly manure the radio DJs were paid to splooge out over the airwaves in between great songs from genuinely cool bands like Uriah Heep.

    I never hated this song enough to station skip[1] away from it but I never listened past the “reading about me”, either, which if I thought about it at all, I thought not “what a controlling jerk” but “my, how shyly insecure, which will only work if he’s really cute.”

    Well, apparently, if I’d listened further I would have learned he was insufficiently adorable to get away with crap like that; and maybe she left the diary underneath the tree in the first place just to torture him (I would have.) And maybe I’d have enjoyed the song more[2].

    Thank you. I think.

    [1] yeah, I’m old enough to remember when there were THREE or FOUR whole pop/rock stations, each with independent payola
    [2] in a teenage schadenfreudish sort of way

  2. The Supermarket (Rhythm &) Blues in Wendell.Me. Says:

    […] made some observations about supermarket Muzak before. And in fact, both of the store music incidents occurred in the same store. Well, […]

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