April 9, 2009
You’re always treading on thin ice when you use encounters with the homeless for creative inspiration. Songwriters love to do it, but it’s the rare one who is able to present a homeless person with the distinction and dignity necessary to make him or her feel like more than a stock character.
“I Want My Life Back” bombs pretty hard in that regard. The homeless man in this song exists solely to help the song make its point – he’s so committed to it, in fact, that he turns down food money in order to recite the words to the bombastic chorus. After that, the homeless man’s words serve to inspire the narrator to realize, as all regretful men in pop-country singles do, that his pride and temper are what killed his previous relationship, and that he now wants his girl back. So he calls her up to tell her that. The End.
What we learned: the homeless exist to give songwriters ideas and to inspire you to get back together with your girlfriend. And when they speak, it is in power-ballad form. Now you know!
…Yeah. I want my four minutes back.
Listen: I Want My Life Back