The difficult I’ll do right now

Here is a clip that I’ve been loving for quite a few months now. When Fallout 3 hit at the end of October, I was completely hypnotized by the licensed tracks that your character can listen to being broadcast from the heart of the DC Wasteland, relayed through a radio antenna at the top of the Washington Monument. Some of these songs are appreciated ironically, what with the retrograde gender and racial politics of their lyrics resting on beds of chipper accompaniment. But one song always genuinely broke my heart, particularly when it came on at night as my character trekked lonesomely from one blasted-out building to another: Billy Holiday’s Crazy He Calls Me.

This clip is not that version—which nearly drowns in a flood of strings (fortunately, I like that sort of thing)—but I honestly like this one is better. With its straightforward combo arrangement, the vocal performance of Etta Jones is the full focus. Sure, it’s just another one of those “over-committing lover” songs, with its laundry-list of impossible promises. But maybe the hopelessness of those vows only accentuates the song’s general heart-brokenness. In some ways, it sounds like a song from someone who already knows that they’ve failed to live up to their own hype. Or maybe it’s the voice of a person who realizes that the one that they love will never let them prove that they could.

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