Is it just me, or do other people have songs that play in their head from time to time? It’s not necessarily a popular song, or a song you’ve recently heard…but the song seems applicable and relevant and it just keeps playing in your thoughts. Anyone? Is it me? Am I a lost cause after all?
So over the last few days, the song that’s been on loop in my gray matter is none other than the incomparable, Ms. Nina Simone’s “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood.” You may recognize the version covered by the Animals, but Nina’s is the original. SHE IS THE ORIGINAL. The song was actually written for her. It features a harp in the background and a complex orchestral arrangement. But the lyrics are so on point for how Nina Simone lived her life. She was unapologetic and uncompromising, but brilliant and kind. And some may argue that the lyrics are about the Civil Rights Movement. And will I agree, that there is definitely a tone to the song of clarity and understanding.
But looking closely at the lyrics, I feel it’s a song written to those who love Nina…those who’ve seem her at her worst…those she’s lashed out at…those she had hurt, not by intention, but by default. The ones that are in her inner circle, the ones she loves. Her intentions are good. They are always good. But situations may shroud the intention, leading to misinterpretation.
Haven’t we all been there? You have the best intentions. Your heart is in the right place and something happens and it goes south. Before you know it, there are hurt feelings, anger and distance. All because of a misunderstanding.
So I post this song with a public service announcement. 1. If you have not heard of Nina Simone, drop what you are doing and take a minute to listen to this regal songstress. 2. Give others forgiveness of their mistakes, it is most likely a misunderstanding. 3. Go easy on yourself. My intentions are always good…but that mouth of mine has a way of distorting meanings and it often gets me in trouble. But such is life. Maybe I should just keep this song on my phone to play at those moments when my feet are so far in my mouth that Nina is the only viable solution.