Don’t Forget the Songs-365: Mach Tres: Day 001
Thurs, Jan 17, 2013

“I Love You But I Don’t Know What To Say”
Ryan Adams


“♫ When
the night
is silent
& we seem so
far away/ I
love you but
I don’t know
what to

As I sit here, writing this, listening to “I Love You But I Don’t Know What To Say” on repeat, I’m thinking of my little brother and my sister-in law. I remember their wedding in that early September day when my little brother and his wife got married in those lush gardens in San Antonio. Looking back, watching as my brother and sister-in-law lovingly exchanged their vows, that moment now evokes Ryan Adams perfect lyrics “♫ When I met you the clouds inside me parted. ♫” I recall how much the sun glowed on them on their wedding day. There was so much love, so much joy and promise and now my little brother’s life has become a tragedy. He’s hurting right now and we as a family are suffering too.

In times of anguish our family turns to music. And today I am indebted to the calming sounds of Ryan Adams’ “I Love You But I Don’t Know What To Say.” There’s a unique tone flowing through out that keeps me reconnecting to Ashes & Fire‘s climatic cut. “There is a duality in all of them and it’s that natural duality [in songs] like I Love You But I Don’t Know What To Say,” Ryan once said, later he talked Clash Music referencing the empathetic duality of “I Love You But I Don’t Know What To Say,” when he reflected, “That’s good, because that’s what I’m using the feelings I’m having for. When I’m writing a song I have two choices, ultimately, when I’m gonna basically decide how to narrate the song. I have choice to obscure the information in order to draw attention to the melody and to the words, or I have the second choice, which is – and it’s a much more noble pursuit – how do I best serve the thing I want to describe? How do I best serve it by making it so that someone would be able to put on my shoes? That’s all it is. I’ve done both, and I like the second more. If it’s just me listening to my diary entry, that’s painful, that’s just terrible; I would never put anybody through that!

It’s the open ended nature of Ryan’s lyrics that I am connecting to in “I Love You.” “I Don’t Know What To Say” could be interpreted as a sad or promising song, that’s what makes it a successful love song. Ryan’s new writing style is a reflection of his new lyrical mindset as he discussed to Clash Music when he said, “I’m thirty-six now, and it’s really interesting; my life is less fear-driven. In the little ways, not the big ways; it’s like the tiny little incremental things that could fuck with the man to make him who he is. Some of those things start to slip, and I think that’s why older people get gentle, and then some of them get really crabby; it’s because some of them are just tired, or maybe they settle into a more lonely place. But the world is so fussy, and you become very un-fussy. That’s another thing too; older people are like, ‘I don’t have time for fussiness’. Like, ‘I realize that none of this shit matters. It’s the more metaphysical stuff that matters.”

One of the main themes you can hear in Ashes & Fire is Ryan’s devotion to the importance of family. Adams is so right – Love and family is what matters most. Because of this, today I am dedicating “I Love You But I Don’t Know What To Say” to my little brother. He’s going through one of the toughest and most excruciating times no spouse would ever want to face. Just know that I am here for you hermano, even though when we talk there may be gaps of silence, I’m listening, just know this, “I Love You But I Don’t Know What To Say.”