There are songs so well written and performed that they put you in a moment you’ve never experienced for yourself. In the case of this song, it’s almost enough to make me actually want to experience the heartache Stevie Wonder is going through (almost). This is, by far, my favorite song of his, with perfectly poetic lyrics and a melody that suggests a type of crying that comes without notice or theatrics, just eyes starting to cry. Coincidentally, this song works as a prequel to my last Perfect Song, setting up a spiral of beautiful heartache.
The story in this song is about suspicions of infidelity, and the best line in the song “Far more frequently you’re wearing perfume” could really be the end of it. It’s one of the best lines ever written in any song, as far as I’m concerned. Something about that phrase and the way it’s delivered is just so damning in a heartbreaking way. It paints a whole picture to me. Whether or not the other person is actually cheating or not, something has obviously changed here and he’s aware of it. Even before she says she doesn’t know when she’s coming home, you can sense the distance between them.
There’s no anger in this song, because it’s still just premonitions, but those premonitions are killers for a man of many wishes. It leads to self doubt and introspection and picking yourself apart slowly in front of the mirror. And no matter how much he tries to hide how he feels, from the world, from her, from himself, his eyes start to cry because she’s whispering someone’s name in her sleep. The pain of his feelings of inadequacy come through in the slight crack in his voice and if that doesn’t get you, then you have no soul.