According to my iTunes library, I've listened to this song twice as many times as any of my other favorite songs. I wonder, why is that? Maybe it's because this song is so short, clocking in at only 2:13; or maybe it's because it's so damn poignant-definitely some of the most depressing lyrics in Adams's repertoire, but-somewhat uncharacteristically-ultimately hopeful...which may be the best part of this song: the irony behind the morose lyrics lightly crooned over an upbeat guitar line.
Dear Chicago is off Demolition, which was released in 2002 between Gold and Rock N Roll (when Adams was only releasing one album per year), and which seems to serve as a musical bridge between his transitioning styles--from Heartbreaker and Gold's country-folk to Rock N Roll's well, rock. It's been an interesting path for him, trying out all these different genres, then reworking everything completely with Love is Hell, which many consider to be either his best or his worst album. Luckily, since that release Adams has seemed to find a comfortable middle ground, mostly amalgamating these various styles into his own.
But Demolition has been overlooked, and underestimated, because it is a good album. From its upbeat beginnings to "Desire," one of Adams's best songs, lyrically and musically, in which he shows off his harmonica skills, and recalls the talents of Dylan and a younger Boss...."Cry on Demand" and "She Wants to Play Hearts" are heartbreaking renditions, that seem to build on each other, before the bluesy/jazzy "Tennessee Sucks" lends a perfect introduction into Adams's shining moment in Dear Chicago. From there, "Tomorrow" and "Chin Up, Cheer Up" attempt at a hopeful future, but the album's closer, "Jesus (Don't Touch my Baby)," the albums darkest track, seems to bring the listener back to reality. But on Dear Chicago, when that first guitar chord hits, and he starts singing to his ex about his life since they broke up...you just feel his heartache, and wonder if the optimism at the end isn't him being true to himself. It's about not being able to fall out of love with someone, and Adams captures such a complicated but important feeling perfectly.
You'll never guess
You know the girl you said I'd meet someday?
Well I got something to confess...
She picked me up on friday,
Asked me if she reminded me of you.
I just laughed and lit a cigarette,
Said, "That's impossible to do."
Life's gotten simple since
and it fluctuates so much,
Happy and sad and back again
I'm not crying now too much.
I think about you all the time,
It's strange and hard to deal
I think about you lying there,
and those blankets lie so still.
Nothing breathes here in the cold,
Nothing moves or even smiles,
I've been thinking some of suicide...
but there's bars out here for miles.
Sorry about the every kiss;
Every kiss you wasted bad.
I think the thing you said was true,
I'm gonna die alone and sad.
The wind's feelin' real these days,
yeah and baby it hurts me some...
Never thought I'd feel so blue,
New York City you're almost gone.
I think that I've fallen out of love,
I think I've fallen out of love,
I think I've fallen out of love...with you.