This song about unconditional love for a person with a serious addiction is heartbreaking, great, and definitely worth a listen.
Here at Unruly Stowaway, we are into dissecting songs that are almost thirty years old. At a certain point what’s old is new, and if you don’t know this song, it’s new to you.
Today we are diving into the band Concrete Blonde’s song “Joey” off their 1990 album Bloodletting. During its initial release, the song was a pretty solid hit, reaching number 19 on the Billboard U.S. Hot 100 chart, and number one on Billboard’s U.S. Alternative Songs chart.
Now, it plays in perpetuity on modern rock, classic alternative, 90’s pop, and new wave radio stations. That’s where I rediscovered it.
Let’s Take a Listen:
Before we go any further, let’s just get to the dang song already. That way, after you have a listen you can decide whether you want to move on and ditch this article or dive deeper with us.
Video courtesy of ConcreteblondeVevo on Youtube and I.R.S. Records. Please report dead links to admin(at)unrulystowaway.com
If you casually listened to the song without the video what you might have gotten out of that listen is that the tune is a neatly wrapped little pop song. Excluding the short fade-out, the song clocks in at an even four minutes and follows the pattern of chorus, verse, chorus, verse, bridge, verse.
If you paid attention to the lyrics and/or watched the video provided, which is the official video for the song, you may have gathered that the song has something to do with alcoholism.
The song is about Concrete Blonde’s lead singer, Johnette Napolitano’s relationship with Wall of Voodoo’s Mark Moreland. (Wall of Voodoo is best known for it’s 1982 song “Mexican Radio.”) Moreland died in 2002 of kidney failure following a liver transplant.
“Joey” was the last song recorded on the Concrete Blonde’s aptly titled Bloodletting album because Napolitano kept putting off completing it. In an interview about the song she said:
And I remember Chris (Chris Tsangarides the album’s producer) every day, ‘Do we have vocals to ‘Joey’ yet? Do we have words to ‘Joey’ yet?’ And I’m like, ‘Not yet.’ So I literally wrote them in a cab. I knew what I was going to say, it’s just a matter of like a cloud’s forming and then it rains. The lines are forming in my head and they’re all in my head, and I know the chorus, and I know what I’m going to say. It’s just a matter of fine tuning the details and how I’m going to lug it out. And then it rains. The clouds all formed and it rained. And then it happened. And that was it. And it was just there.”
If you would like to dig into this song a bit more, and read what some others think here is a link to song lyrics and some opinions on songmeanings.com.
What did you think of the song? Is this a situation you can relate to? Comment below.
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