May 10, 2009
“You’re So Vain”
1972 | Electra
In honor of Mother’s Day, and as a gift for my mom (since I’m poor), I wanted to feature the work of someone she loves. I wanted to find a record that, when I heard it, instantly brought Mom to mind. But, of course, it also had to be something decidedly “un-rock” – that is, something without a driving back beat, a distorted electric guitar, or anything resembling grit. So I decided to cover a song that is as limp-dick as you can get, and, yet, is a song that I totally love despite itself (and despite it reminding me of my mom’s less than progressive tastes in music).
Say hello to me covering Carly Simon. I never thought this day would come.
“You’re So Vain” is clearly the most well-known song by the former Mrs. James Taylor (more mom-related trivia: my mom was at their show at Carnegie Hall the night they got married), as well as one of the 70s-pop radio staples that you can still hear 10 times a day if you select your radio stations carefully enough. Its ubiquity, and its mind-numbingly catchy chorus, make it a song that has not found its indie-rock “so lame its cool” half-ironic street cred. Maybe that’s because its lyrics and melody really are top notch, with some interesting and vivid imagery. Plus, the question has been raging, with some honest interest in finding the answer, for years: who is the song about?
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