“Don’t Be Cruel” by Bobby Brown
It occurred to me awhile back that almost all love songs are not about being in love but are really about being a narcissistic psycho. This happened listening to “Don’t Be Cruel” by Bobby Brown. I was in the car and the song came on and the song itself is like a vehicle that takes me back to when it first came out, all the feelings from that time. So I turn it up. But I’m also feeling what it feels like to feel right now, because I’m driving and thinking about all the bullshit things I have to do. So it’s in this interstitial state that I hear myself talking to the radio, I’m saying things like “sounds like she’s just not into you” and “what are you talking about she doesn’t owe you anything” and “yo I think you need to cool it” and “Bobby Brown is a fucking psycho in this song.” It’s then that I realize it’s not just Bobby Brown, every other song on the radio is basically a monologue of what it is to be both a narcissist and a psycho. Every other song I’ve ever loved. That was a real breakthrough day for me.
Dan Hoy is the author of The Deathbed Editions (Octopus Books, 2016) and several poetry chapbooks, including The Tree (Solar Luxuriance, 2016) and The Terraformers (Third Man Books, forthcoming 2017). His work has appeared in The Best American Nonrequired Reading, Triple Canopy, Novembre, Elderly, and other magazines and anthologies. He lives in Nashville.
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