Song About…

No More Workhorse Blues

Many lights up today
Many lights up this way

What is this road here,
Where have I come?

I am a rich man
I am a very rich man
I have good pants on
Stitched and stitched;
I am in stitches
I am laughing at you
I am in britches

I’ve written books for you
I held my own for you
Where is my tongue?

I am no more workhorse
I am no more workhorse
I am no more workhorse
I am no more workhorse

I am a grazing horse
I am a grazing horse
I am your favorite horse

  • Will Oldham

When I hear this song, I like to think of the last few lines as “I am a racing horse/I am a racing horse/I am your favorite horse.” Because I think of this song not only about a refusal to be a beast of burden for someone, but moving quickly from pulling a heavy cart to becoming a Thoroughbred — in other words, not only breaking free of being some sort of slave to someone, but becoming what the person REALLY is inside – something bright, fast, and prized. This song speaks to me of the sudden realization that one has made oneself a slave to another (whether a person or a thing), only to wake up and find out that not only wasn’t the recipient of that behavior deserving of it, but it is not the kind of behavior which is true to the “slave.” The slave is actually someone else inside, someone powerful and free. And now that person realizes it, and moves closer becoming who they are. But that is how this song personally speaks to me.

Oldham’s music video version of this song, created by Harmony Korine, is extremely spooky, but I think that it captures its melancholy and its definite rejection of a kind of life that the speaker tried and could not live out, in a very final way.

An emotional and personal song, revealing and private at the same time.

Every Thursday

 

 

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