An opening track that’s as surprising as the realisation that Lauryn Hill is a lyrical masterpiece. She takes the simplicity of her imagery to paint a very complex picture of the deprecation of humanity’s own vanity, a very visceral image of those lost to their own self-righteous egoism:
Now, now, how come your talk turn cold?
Gained the whole world for the price of your soul.
Tryin’ to grab hold of what you can control.
Now, you’re all floss, what a sight to behold.
It’s also a representation of the naturally poetic slide and swagger of Ms. Hill’s delivery. She’s very deliberate with her wordplay, giving rise to intelligent conversation and deep thought:
Some might listen and some might shun.
Some might think that they’ve reached perfection.
If you look closely you’ll see what you’ve become.
See, you might win some but you just lost one.
Probably one of the most heartbreaking songs to come out of the 90s, it’ a testament to Lauryn’s ability to craft her life experiences into poetic lilts of emotion. It’s a song about regret, deep-loving regret that aches the soul from the moment she opens her mouth to express her pain:
It could all be so simple.
But you’d rather make it hard.
Loving you is like a battle.
And we both end up with scars.
Just when you think Lauryn has purged herself of the demons of never letting go (“I keep letting you back in. / How can I explain myself? / As painful as this thing has been, I just can’t be with no one else”), you find that her soul is forever intermingled with the life of the one who’s managed to make her life as dark and wretched as it’s become:
I know what we’ve got to do.
You let go, and I’ll let go too.
‘Cuz no one’s hurt me more than you.
And no one ever will.
What manages to stick with you is the echoing jubilee that takes the song to its climax while crying and fading away:
Care for me, care for me.
I know you care for me.
There for me, there for me.
Said you’d be there for me.
Cry for me cry for me.
You said you’d die for me.
Give to me, give to me.
Why won’t you live for me?
With her pain reaching a head she yearns, “Where were you when I needed you”, crying out into a classroom full of laughing students reaching within themselves to unmask the mysteries of love.