Throwback Thursday: The Lemonheads – It’s a Shame About Ray

“Some things need to go away”

This lyric from The Lemonheads‘ 1992 single “It’s a Shame About Ray” has always haunted me. It’s a line that comes back into my head all the time, as recently as this last Tuesday when learning that Andrew Cuomo had resigned as the Governor of New York.

“Some things need to go away”

When listening to this beautiful song, written by Evan Dando, I always interpreted the lyrics as about someone the song’s narrator knew who died, likely of drug use (or a similarly self-destructive behavior). When Dando says “In the stone, under the dust, his name is still engraved”, it’s hard not to picture an old tombstone being read. And though Ray’s loss is “a shame”, it’s maybe better for everyone that he’s finally gone, and is no longer a cause of worry and strife for those who loved him. People can heal now that he’s gone.

“Some things need to go away”

It’s a concept that gets under my skin. Can a tragedy sometimes be the best thing for everyone? Can an absence lead to closure? There’s such a melancholy and acceptance in Dando’s voice as he sings that line, it sends my mind traveling. While in interviews, Dando has said about the lyrics:

“It’s spooky. It’s about a disappearing person. It’s a very open-ended, grey sort of song. I think it’s one of those things, like¬†The Trouble with Harry.¬†Like a mysterious sort of song.”

And it is mysterious. But also hopeful. There’s a feeling of moving on beyond bad times, which is something we are all trying to do after the last rough few years. Some rough years that need to go away.

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