Story Song Structure (2): Tired of Being Alone
Ah, Al Green. The Reverend Al Green. For me, an album artist first, Let's Stay Together was a big part of my mom's album collection, and always ready to be put on, pretty much whenever. I'm Still In Love With You, as well, and many others.
But his songs... almost completely separated from the albums, Al Green was, is, so much a part of R&B radio as to have defined it, certainly in the 70s.
Tired of Being Alone (song link here) as a story, though?
Well, in terms of what I've been thinking, certainly with the framing device.
I'm so tired of being alone
I'm so tired of on my own
these two lines introduce almost every verse of the song, the frame is inseparable here from the story. The two move together, with the frame almost static.
Almost. The third verse moves the intro lines dynamically, he changes the intro to this verse, modulates to a quieter place.
This is story, I think, romance, the lover's lament, a path less traveled in book and story form, if my impressions of the romance genre are correct, but an essential path in the mid-20th century song form. Here, I read it as Al writing a letter. Not an explicit, plotted, step by step story, rather a dynamic tone poem of loss and questioning. Not beseeching. Just, well, wondering if maybe?
The story line lies in how he tells us little by little through each of the verses what's happened. How they started, where they went.
Where he is, now, wondering.
And he doesn't resolve the ambiguity, does he? I can say what my opinion is, that he knows this is a lament for himself, he knows she's not coming back, but that's ok.
He has his dream, and that's good just by itself. He's said his piece now it's time to go.