Week before last I stumbled on a $5 copy of Rosanne Cash hits. Naturally I pounced on the CD because despite my love for “Seven Year Ache” and “Tennessee Flat Top Box” I don’t actually own a Rosanne Cash album. Here I got both those hits plus several more I recalled from the 80s. Sweet.
I expected I would lock in on “Seven Year Ache” but instead I’ve found a new earworm in “I Don’t Know Why You Don’t Want Me.”
How in the hell had I forgotten this song? I can only assume that the two previously mentioned tracks as well as “This Is the Way (We Make a Broken Heart)” overshadow this little ditty, despite the fact that “I Don’t Know Why You Don’t Want Me” was what won Cash a Grammy for Best Country Female Vocal Performance in ’85–beating out Janie Fricke’s “She’s Single Again” (that should get Kristy’s attention). For added irony, apparently the hook and a portion of the lyrics were born out of Cash’s thoughts upon losing a Grammy in a previous year.
I can’t put my finger on what it is about the song that has led me to listen to it at least 30 times in the last 36 hours. The lyrics–amusing stories about Grammy inspiration aside–are not incredibly deep. They’re kind of fun “I’m in the right mood / I’ve got the new shoes tonight…I’ve got the new dress / I couldn’t care less tonight…”
Being the more tune-inclined listener of the MTVMPB crew, I have a feeling the secret in the attraction lies there. It’s catchy, it’s upbeat, and yes, that is Vince Gill on background vocals. But is it really a musical stand out? I can’t say. I do know it’s a fabulous pace for getting things done–it’s now on my house-cleaning rotation, and during the past two days of marathon effort on a project at work, it’s been just the right combination of upbeat without excess speed or harshness.
Or maybe the addiction for me is more personal. The music video for this song is at the heart of a pointless, but very vivid early memory. This music video came on and my brother, who was about 3 or 4, was totally entranced. Stopped playing with his cars, dead halt and fixated on the TV. As the video wound down he asked, “Who is that lady?” Mom told him it was Rosanne Cash. He then announced with a firmness and conviction beyond his years “I like Rosanne Cash. I like how she sings. And she’s pretty.” And then he went back to playing with his cars. For several years after that, if asked about singers he liked, Rosanne Cash was the only female vocalist he would name.
I don’t know why the song is so addictive, and I don’t know why I ever let it slip out of my repertoire, but I know I’m glad it’s here and I won’t lose track of it again.