I Hope I Don’t Fall in Love With You (1973) – Tom Waits

I’m a huge fan of this song from Tom which has an alluring James Taylor-esque sound. It is from Tom’s pre-minstrel days and is hopelessly romantic. I’m going to go out on a limb and declare, ‘I don’t know how anyone could dislike ‘I Hope I Don’t Fall in Love With You‘. As a taxi driver once said, ‘I used to play Tom’s music in my cab. It really calmed down the drunks‘. They weren’t the only ones to find his music a soothing experience! This song is about as mellow Tom’s music gets. I love the turn in the 4th verse… ‘I hope YOU don’t fall in love with ME!’

Well I hope that I don’t fall in love with you
‘Cause falling in love just makes me blue,
Well the music plays and you display your heart for me to see,
I had a beer and now I hear you calling out for me
And I hope that I don’t fall in love with you.

Well the room is crowded, people everywhere
And I wonder, should I offer you a chair?
Well if you sit down with this old clown, take that frown and break it,
Before the evening’s gone away, I think that we could make it,
And I hope that I don’t fall in love with you.

After exposing all of his fears of commitment he realizes he is falling for her and now must face the realization she may return the favor. You can feel the pain of a man afraid of commitment in this song. He fumbles and worries and once he finally gets the confidence to face her, well it was too late. She is gone. Perhaps it’s more about a guy who’s not in love with the woman but in love with the idea of love itself so much so that he projects it onto any attractive stranger that he sees through his alcoholic haze, constructing a drunken reverie which dissipates as she leaves.

Closing Time was the debut record from Tom Waits and is noted as being predominantly folk influenced. It did not chart and received little attention from music press. Some songs from the album were covered by Tim Buckley and Bette Midler. The album has since gained a contemporary cult following among rock fans. Tom Waits began his musical career in 1970, performing every Monday night at The Troubadour (featured in Elton John’s recent biopic – Rocketman), a venue in West Hollywood. In Rolling Stone, critic Stephen Holden praised Closing Time as “a remarkable debut album“.  William Ruhlmann, in a retrospective AllMusic review, holds the album in high regard, describing Waits’ “lovelorn lyrics” as being “sentimental without being penetrating“, while also noting Waits’ gift for ‘self-conscious melancholy“.

References:
1. Closing Time – wikipedia

“The more I live, the more I learn. The more I learn, the more I realize, the less I know.”- Michel Legrand

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2 comments on “I Hope I Don’t Fall in Love With You (1973) – Tom Waits
  1. This is singer-songwriter music at its very best.

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