Guy Clark On Good Advice



Remember when people used to post song lyrics on Facebook? Man those were the days, when Facebook was nothing but a muse, and a way to interact with friends you probably already saw every day anyway. This post is an "early 30's" version of that.

I was revisiting some Guy Clark the other day, and the song "Good Advice" stuck out to me. Clark sings:
    "In one ear and out the other
    just like talking to your mother
    if it's not one thing, it's another
    that you can count on."
Maybe it's because I'm at the stage in my life where this is particularly relavent. But, really I find it fascinating that a Texas folk singer, songwriter born in 1941 can write songs about concepts that are universally true, at least between him and I; as if there were an invisible string tying us together. Clark goes on with:
    "I've heard it all, more than twice
    not again, aww jesus christ
    the funny thing about good advice is, everybody's got some"
I don't know about you, but I've felt this way before, for example "You should probably do XYZ..." Gives me a knee jerk reaction like "How dare you suggest that I didn't know that I should do that". Maybe it's immaturity or a fatal character flaw, but either way, if you're talkin' bout good advice, everyone's got some. It seems like Guy feels the same way too, but then the next verse goes like:
    "Good Advice, is hard to take
    bad habits are hard to break
    good sense, is hard to make
    good advice, is hard to take
    life's such a bitter pill
    to swallow it down with a shot of pride
    ask the devil to step outside
    this aint no time to run and hide
    you gotta draw the line somewhere"
And, this is why music is fun to listen to... Clark is giving the listener, or maybe even himself "Good Advice". Telling them to swallow their pride, draw the line and take it for what it is, not what it implies. Ironically, he knows that the listener is probably going to be prideful, so they probably won't take advice about taking advice. So it forms a weird meta loop of advice-giving and insight, that feels good, but is difficult to employ in practice. He literally mentions this exact thing in the next verse:
    "Don't give me no advice that rhymes
    I've heard it all 1000 times
    don't start preachin' between the lines
    give me something I can use"
The song goes on like this for a couple more verses. I don't know if I'll be a better person, but it's cool that I can share feelings with a legendary song-writer. This is probably why he's regarded as one of the best ever, and it shows.