LC Posted March 24 Share Posted March 24 I hadn't listened to "Run Away" in a long time, but on a recent late-night dog walk under the stars in my quiet neighborhood, it got shuffle-played in front of me. It really makes an impact in the darkness of the night. And it still demands close listening, all these years later. It's eight minutes long, which is maybe why I haven't listened to it much in recent years. (Or maybe it's my obsession with John Stewart's brilliant catalog.) Either way, it was fun to catch up with "Run Away" again. Like seeing an old friend. I remember getting Boats Against the Current in 1977. A couple weeks before college, after that album's long, long, long delay, I finally had it in my hot little hands. And I remember this very well: The first and last songs on the LP were the two that instantly grabbed me. It didn't take long to love the six songs in between, for sure. But at my very first audition of the album, "Boats" killed me for its poetic, perfect craftsmanship — and "Run Away" killed me for its drama, power, and, again, perfect craftsmanship. After it ended, I just sat there in silence for a few minutes and thought, "Whew!" It's a long-form power ballad, a story that I could tell (even as a 17-year-old) was autobiographical. "Run Away" is Eric being startlingly honest. I understand that "Run Away" is maybe too over-the-top for some — too dramatic or too intense. But the intensity, I find, is incredibly cool. The lyrics are poetic, opening a window into Eric's teen angst. Remember, he later told us he intended "Run Away" as the first song on Boats Against the Current, as the start of his own story within his only "concept album." Follow the album as it is from back to front, and it really does tell a story. The opening to this song is such a grabber, with that subtle piano melody followed by a descriptive and imagistic (oh, those golden high school dreams!): She was just an average blue-eyed golden high school dream, An illusion nothing real could ever touch. Funny, love seemed so much more intense at 17, When I knew she'd never love me half as much I recall the desperate vow I made. I must find a way somehow to win her heart. I've got to make her mine. I'm gonna run away 'til I prove that I'm a man Gonna run away, be the best I know I can Got to run away, got to find my space and time And I cannot rest a day until I make her mine. Eric's writing is so good in this song, as at the next verse—my favorite within—reminds me: Trades were made for promises of a timeless memory, And I knew but still refused to comprehend That the fantasy more glamorous than she could ever be Was the course of least resistance in the end. I recall the desperate vow I made. I must find a way somehow to win her heart. I've got to make her mine. I'm gonna run away 'til I prove that I'm a man Gonna run away, be the best I know I can Got to run away, got to find my space and time And I cannot rest a day until I make her mine. And on it goes, with strong lyrics getting even stronger. I love this last verse, too—it's pure poetry. That line about the winter taking its toll... going to college in the great Northeast, that one always connected. The spring has gone and will not come again? Now that's dark. Long ago an innocence lived deep within my soul In a yesterday where love and dreams remain. But disillusion clouds my eyes and the winter takes its toll For the spring has gone and will not come again I recall the desperate vow I made. I must find a way somehow to win her heart. I've got to make her mine. Gonna run away 'till I prove that I'm a man Gonna run away, be the best I know I can Got to run away, got to find my space and time And I cannot rest a day until I make her mine. The killer piano playing, the constant building up of the production, that long tag with pounding piano trading off with ringing guitar solos and soaring strings — again, whew! This is truly a tour de force. So... when you have eight minutes to really detach from life and fully soak in "Run Away" again, do it. It's not for passive, distracted listening, is it? 2 1 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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