Proud Mary vs. Bad English: Which Version of “Missing You” is Better?10.16.10
I’ve been saying for a while that this whole “agree to disagree” theme of my opinionated blog doesn’t have to only speak about politics. In fact, there’s plenty to have opinions about that doesn’t involve the economy, elections, and policy.
So, I’m going to start tackling other polarizing topics. Starting this week with music.
Yes, music. Everyone has an opinion on this one. Just ask someone: Beatles or Stones? That person will most likely answer nearly instantaneously one or the other… unless you’re like me and you respond with, “Metallica?”
But that’s not what I’m arguing today, nor most likely ever in the future because that’s just a pointless discussion for me as I don’t really care either way on that one. No, today I’m arguing something much more pertinent in our lives: the better version of the timeless classic: “Missing You.”
In one corner we have John (The Babys, Bad English) Waite who wrote and originally performed the tune as a bitter, heartbroken anthem in the 80s about a jilted lover determined to put on a face of being over his ex despite being a total mess inside.
In the other corner we have Tina (Tina Turner) Turner‘s cover from 1996, which was a literal take on the main lyric “I ain’t missing you at all,” and became more of a female empowerment F-you to the idiot who dumped her (Ike?).
Perhaps this isn’t as big of a deal as I think it is, but I’ve had numerous conversations (yes, seriously) with people who seem to prefer the Tina Turner version. What!? First off, most people don’t know who John Waite is or that he did the song originally. (C’mon, people.) Second, his version is empirically better — as in most art, it’s better to use not hit things directly on the nose, to let the listener develop his own feelings and interpretation of the song. In Turner’s version, there’s no gray area — she seriously ain’t missing you at all. But the way that Waite’s bitter, quick tongue snaps off the lyric, you know that he’s hiding behind a shell of bitterness and is determined to come across strong while inside, he’s a melted, weeping sack of heartache.
And lastly: the 80s just ruled. Sorry, 90s, but when it comes to cheesy love songs, the 80s has you beat.
Look — Tina Turner rocks. I will forever love “What’s Love Got to Do With It?” because my dad would play her record (yup, vinyl) on Saturday mornings. Plus, she was in Beyond Thunderdome. But, sorry, , John Waite’s version is more layered and, therefore, more affecting than yours.