middleages

Excavation or exclamation? Archaeologists find that the original plans for Stonehenge may have essentially been a prehistoric text message…details at 11.

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Game Theory was one of the first bands I featured here on Reselect back in May 2011 (“Here It Is Tomorrow”), and for good reason: they epitomized one of the things I most wanted out of writing a music blog, which was to help people discover great songs written by talented songwriters and bands who never got the exposure they deserved in their heyday. “Heyday” meaning peak of their talents, versus peak of their success, of course — commercial success never comes for many of said talented songwriters. I remember a friend of mine once stating something to the effect that every performer you hear on the radio was undoubtedly rich; little did he know about the music business.

But that’s neither here nor there. I’m posting today about “Wish I Could Stand or Have,” from Game Theory’s final album, 1988’s 2 Steps from the Middle Ages, for a couple of reasons. First, to very belatedly mark the 1-year anniversary of the sad and unexpected death of Scott Miller, leader and songwriter extraordinaire of Game Theory (and, after that, of The Loud Family). I was very surprised to hear earlier this year of his death in April 2013 — I’m not sure how, but it had completely escaped my awareness when it first was reported. Not too surprising, I suppose, because it wouldn’t be the sort of event reported on the evening network news, but still, I would have thought I’d have heard somewhere. And when I finally did find out, it somehow seemed like I’d known already (as contradictory as that may sound): I had begun to sense his absence from the music scene and had a feeling it was not simply a matter of having nothing to release, so I Googled for the latest news, hoping my sense of dread was unfounded. But it was all too accurate, and crushing in its reality.

The second reason I’m posting “Wish I Could Stand or Have” is because it’s simply a great song. I’ve always loved its driving acoustic strum and steady thump of a drumbeat, and it has some of the most insightful and moving lyrics I know of about the lack of choice one has in falling head over heels in love with someone. Miller captures both the highs and lows, the push and the pull, the addiction to the attraction in one simple, under-two-minute song better than many songwriters could hope to over the course of a lifetime of albums.

The lyrics say it all:

Wish I could love the way, oh the way I lean on you
Wish I could walk away if one day I wanted to
Wish I could love a day of silence
But I’ll miss you to the point of violence
Wish I could stand or have a chance without you

Wish I could love the way, oh, the way I’m owned by you
Wish I could really say that I’ve got my own life too
Wish I needed nobody’s assistance
Wish that I could find a little distance
Wish I could stand or have a chance without you

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