Song of the Week: “Tears of a Clown” by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles

by Douglas Cowie on 8 September 2017

Each Friday I pick a song–new, old, borrowed, blue–that’s been on my mind and in my ears, and write a short post about it.

This is “Tears of a Clown” by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles:

I was reading what the President of the United States apparently said or felt or whatever about how agonizing it was to decide to cut 800,000+ human beings loose by ending DACA, and I thought, “man, those are the tears of a clown.” Which doesn’t really mean what I wanted it to mean, and seemed pretty much immediately a total disservice to this song, but anyway.

But anyway: “Tears of a Clown” is basically a very good song. Except the ever so brief intro and chorus circus melody makes it into a great song. Not on its own, but as a complement or counterpoint to the main drive of the song. Two very good parts combine to make a sum so much bigger than themselves. Maybe this is some kind of metaphor, or we can all pretend it is. Or I will. But anyway, also: superb lyrics.

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