Celebrate the end of Venus Retrograde with "You're So Vain."
I never used to get the chorus of “You’re So Vain.” I thought it intentionally made no sense. Clearly this song was, in fact, about “you,” whoever “you” was. But we’re coming to the end of a Venus Retrograde, a time when we look back on the last eighteen-ish months of our lives to asses whether our actions are aligned with our values, our heart. It’s a time to point out what we need to leave behind so that we can follow our values more closely. It’s a time to open the box labeled “Love,” that you keep in your memory closet, and dig through it to see if there are any feelings or artifacts that you don’t need to bring with you in the next chapter.
So let’s get into it. Carly Simon gave us all the gift of still being mad about it. Still being really mad about it. It’s not that she’s not over it, no, she’s still mad, and I think there’s a difference. Hit play on “You’re so Vain.”
The anger has been simmering on low for a couple of years. But most of the time, she’s able to ignore it, enjoy her life. Weeks go by without him even crossing her mind. If or when he does, she’s able to shrug it off. Son of a Gun. She goes back about her joy.
But it’s unavoidable, sometimes she runs into him - they’re in the same circles some of the time. And he’s still like that, all those things she wasn’t able to see about him when she was still quite naive. Before she started to notice how much he got off on the attention. And girls are still giving him all that attention that he wants. Typical.
I bet you think this song is about you. Don’t you?
I love that Carly admits that this all happened years ago. She’s just being honest about it - this still hurts sometimes! The way this guy treated me still pisses me off. And I’m not embarrassed about it. I’m the opposite of embarrassed - I’m mad.
I had some dreams they were clouds in my coffee.
Okay, so I’m Carly Simon and I’m still mad about it, and ever since I ran into him at that party it’s just been stewing in me, just boiling and simmering, and feeling all this anger is bringing a smile to my face, is making me feel like a mountain, standing strong against the horizon. So I call my friend Mick Jagger, because he was my friend who never really liked that guy, he was my friend who was there for me when things fell apart. He was my friend who made hating him fun. (I'm speculating here). "I want you to come over and record something with me" "Oh?" He asks, and I can hear his wide smile breaking out over the phone. “It’s about him.” “I'll be right there.”
Then Carly and Mick and the rest of the band get together in the studio for one last whoo-ra before Carly leaves this joker in the past. She relishes how confident she feels now that she wants absolutely nothing to do with him. She does not pull one single punch for this last celebration her anger, especially not during that smooth, steely guitar solo, a guitar solo that says, “You should be embarrassed.”
I had some dreams, they were clouds in my coffee. CLOUDS IN MY COFFEE AND Carly brings in the strings, she brings in the drama, she is mad enough to pay for a string quartet to bring the grandiosity. Mick Jagger is in the background screaming “Go Off!”
My favorite lyric in “You’re So Vain,” is and you fl-e-w yo-ur women up to NnOva SCOtia, like Carly is giving this guy the “that’s what you sound like,” treatment. A friend who proof read this pointed out that the lyric is actually you flew your Lear Jet up to Nova Scotia - but I can’t erase the years I imagined a gaggle of women dressed in fur hats following this joker around. I love that you can hear Carly smiling during this third and last verse, the bridge really gassed her up. I always listen to this part of the song and just imagine Carly Simon’s incredible smile beaming in a music studio with bright gold sunlight pouring in through the windows, dappling her in a regal moment of fury. I love imagining the force of “You’re So Vain,” lifting Carly Simon up into the heavens, as if she’s singing every memory of her ex out of her body, even the anger, even the disgust. She doesn’t even need to be mad anymore. She is singing the mad right out of her body.