Bill Withers is a consummate songwriter who has written several hits since the 1970s, including his number one single, “Lean on Me.” Saying that “Lean on Me” is a popular song would be an understatement. When the first few notes come on the radio you recognize it and most people (I want to believe) at the very least, can sing the chorus. But let me share the song that for me beats it.
I discovered on the album, Lean on Me, The Best of Bill Withers a song titled, “The Same Love That Made Me Laugh.” It is a love song that gets my shoulders bopping while pitting my heart. And it has that same effect on me every time I hear it. It starts off smooth and mellow, “Your love is like a chunk of gold…” then mimics the “hmm-hmm” you hear in another one of his hits, “Grandma’s Hands,” concluding with, “Hard to gain and hard to hold.” He also compares this love to a rose that is “soft to touch.”
The chorus is almost like a wail (I had to improvise the first time I heard it) as he implores, “Well and why must the same love that made me laugh, make me cry?” And though we all know that love is a complicated state to exist in, the simplicity of this line and the way it is delivered is the string that pulls you through the labyrinth. Just under four minutes, this is one song that I can play a few times on repeat as it manages to crush but also carries this odd lift that releases you.
(Song recommendation by Tiffany S.)