A Saturday Song

 

If I Tell You

 

If I tell you that I love you

Will you say you love me too?

If I tell you that I need you

Will you promise to be true?

 

Or will you walk away?

Will you break my day?

Will you leave me here to bleed?

And report me to the police?

 

If I hang around your place

Will you invite me to come in?

If I compliment your face

Will you thank me with a grin?

 

Or will you set the dogs on me?

And drop stones on my head?

Will you say bad things about me?

And tell me to drop dead?

 

I don’t know, I don’t know

I wish it wasn’t so

I wish it wasn’t so

Oh oh oh oh

 

I want to be your friend

I’d like to be your beau

Does that make you like me more?

Or treat me like your foe?

 

If I tell you that you scare me

Will you smile and shake your head?

Or will you point a gun at me

And shoot me good and dead?

 

I don’t know, I don’t know

I wish it wasn’t so

I wish it wasn’t so

Oh oh oh oh

 

If I tell you that I loved you

Many years ago

Will you say you loved me too?

Or kick me out the door?

 

I don’t know, I don’t know

I wish it wasn’t so

I wish it wasn’t so

Oh oh oh oh

 

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4 replies
  1. Alex
    Alex says:

    Even when posting harmless songs, McGinn is doing philosophy. It is as if Mcginn were constantly saying: “Do you see how I am not doing philosophy?” In reading these harmless lines, the reader is faced with the ‘Wittgensteinian’ fact that philosophy is over and finally you can devote yourself to real life. So is ‘philosophy never ends’ just a romantic, old-fashioned dictum?

    Reply
    • Colin McGinn
      Colin McGinn says:

      What is true is that I let some basic philosophy into my songs sometimes (same for my fiction); I think this is quite common in songwriting (Dylan, Lennon). I don’t think philosophy is over, though I don’t have anything more to say (as it now seems to me anyway).

      Reply
  2. paul reinicke
    paul reinicke says:

    So far, to me, this one sounds the most like a song. I like the opening stanza. That’s the “magnet” that either pulls people in, or doesn’t. So you want that force to be strong, not weak. And it is strong. It sounds good. The 2nd stanza’s last line seems out of place. I’d suggest “And call for the police?” (In lieu of “And report me to the police.”) Similarly, with the line “And shoot me good and dead,” I can hear the voice grow deeper there, but I would suggest “till I’m dead” rather than “good and dead.” Hmmm, now another thought just popped into my head. You’ve written a whole book on Shakespeare. But have you ever written a play? (Sorry, I’m not trying to jam-up your to-do list.)

    Reply
    • Colin McGinn
      Colin McGinn says:

      The first verse is intended to sound like a conventional love song (nothing wrong with that) but then the subsequent verses introduce a more disturbing mood reflecting contemporary anxieties. I have a recording of it with Nicole singing.

      Reply

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