Your Pretty

Some songs take a long time to finish, some come all at once…

I love to garden. I’m no good at it, but I love to crawl around in the dirt, dig stuff up, bury other stuff. I like pulling weeds and getting all sweaty and muddy, maybe occasionally harvest a tomato or something. And I’d love to tell you that it relaxes my mind, but actually, it tends to stir a lot of emotions up. Either way, I suppose it serves a purpose and I think it’s good for me. It also gives me an excuse to wear overalls, which used to embarrass my kids a lot, so that was an added bonus 🙂

I remember this day well. Now, usually I don’t plan on gardening. Instead, I’ll be taking out the trash, or coming home from the market, and I’ll spot something that bugs me, in this case a rotted out old tree stump with ivy growing all around it in front of my house. Not a big fan of ivy; just seems like a perfect cover for rats to hide out and enjoy the pecans they’ve boosted from my neighbor’s tree. So, I start kicking at this stump a little bit, and I notice that it is barely rooted. So I kick some more and a huge chunk breaks off. Next thing I know, the overalls are on, and my skankiest old baseball cap, and I’ve got a pick and a shovel, and the wife is saying, “heck, I’ve got 3 or 4 hours to do whatever I want today, ‘coz he’s just gone down a rabbit hole”. And the sweat starts pouring, and I’m in that zone, with the stump “effortlessly” coming out and me tearing out ivy; chopping, snipping, slicing, digging, and pulling out piles and piles of empty, hollow pecan shells…

and this little melody comes into my head, and I start thinking about a certain troubled young lady, one who has gotten away with murder her whole life because she’s so damn pretty, She’s invested so little in intellect, common sense, logic… the pretty just seems to be enough for her. And it strikes me that she wears it, like a handbag, or a new blouse, or her bright red acrylic nails. It’s her prized possession. And I think how much “her pretty” has prevented her from becoming a more fully formed human being, that “her pretty” is actually a detriment to the bigger picture of her life, her loved ones, her baby daughter, her future. And I think, “It doesn’t matter how pretty you are, your pretty won’t get you too far”. And I start thinking about the awful choices she’s made, friends who are all on a road to ruin, drug addiction, crime, prison and how they don’t really care about her at all, she’s just another person to cling to, and to pollute, as they circle around the drain, and now I’m angry, angry about all the lies, and the deceit, the damage she’s done, and I wonder if she ever has that quiet moment of sobriety, and clarity, where she realizes what she’s become, and I pray that she can pull herself back from the abyss. But ultimately, I realize that I am no longer dealing with the person I thought I was dealing with. She is long gone. The drugs and alcohol have become the parasites that have taken over the host, leaving a shell, much like the rats have done to the fresh, sweet pecans…

Next thing I know, me and my sweaty, muddy overalls are upstairs in the studio, and I’m feverishly recording a song that, when I woke up this morning, did not exist.


Your Pretty
It doesn’t matter how pretty you are
Your pretty won’t get you too far
You’re pretty all night and day
But your pretty’s standing in your way

Your friends are misery
Looking for company
And when they’ve dragged you down
See if they’re still around


I only wish you knew
The damage that you do
Maybe someday you’ll see
And be there for your baby


And I wonder if you’ve ever known
Maybe when you’re fast asleep
Your lies cut right down to the bone
But your pretty only goes so deep


I wish just once you’d think
But you just lie and drink
They’ll leave you in the end
I hope that you’re still pretty then


It doesn’t matter how pretty you are
Your pretty won’t get you too far
You’re pretty all night and day
But your pretty’s standing in your way
Your pretty, you’re pretty, your pretty, you’re pretty,
Your pretty, you’re pretty, your pretty, oh so pretty,
You’re so god damn mother uh-uh pretty
Pretty now, you’re so pretty now

words and music by bobwhite
©2003 Hannah’s Dad’s Music/Samsongs

bobwhite – lead vocals, acoustic guitars, drum programs
barlow sample – electric guitars and background vocals
cliff – bass and vocals
joe bob “don’t call me bob” bob – drums and percussion

produced by Roman Cliff
engineered by Hans Asperger
mixed by Joey Abersom
recorded at 44 Square, California, USA
vocals recorded in the blue room
executive producer – Joel Abramson

Many years later, the subject of the song called me, sobbing uncontrollably. She had gotten a new computer, and was hanging out with some friends, having a lovely surf, and she was bragging about how she knew me, and they got on my website and she was enjoying sharing these songs she’d never heard. And about halfway through Your Pretty, she realized that the song was about her, and it hit her like a ton of bricks.

“I only wish you knew, the damage that you do”

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