Paul Poulton considers Paloma's plea for men to cry and not hide their feelings.

Paloma Faith
Paloma Faith

Alone in my car I was seized by Paloma Faith's new song 'Crybaby'. I drove the long route home after a concert; darkness had fallen as I put the radio on and Paloma's recent single reached out to me. I was in a pensive mood and ready to hear what she had to say.

"It's okay to be, a little broken and beat" she began.

Is it? I wondered.

I have been feeling broken and beat lately, but I'm not comfy with it, I haven't settled into being "Comfortably Numb" yet. I do have faith, so even when I find myself in the "Slough of Despond" I know I will, somehow, make it to the other side. Paloma has "Faith" as her surname; I continued to listen:

"Oh, go on and cry, baby, crybaby
'Cause you don't have to keep it inside (just cry, just cry)
Go on and cry, baby, crybaby
And there's no reason you got to hide (just cry, just cry)
A real man shows his feelings
Tears they can be healing
And I can be your saviour tonight
So go on and cry, baby, crybaby
Just cry."

Well actually Paloma, I told myself some years ago that I have done all my crying and so imploring me to start again doesn't sit too well with me.

The chords were unusual for a pop song and the slinky soulful singing did what good music is supposed to do by reaching into my inner being. Music does that. There are other routes into a human being's heart, but music can do it particularly well. We see an excellent example of this when Elisha was asked by King Joram to prophesy, but Elisha was angry with the king and didn't want to give him a word from God. Or perhaps we should say he couldn't deliver God's word because it's hard to mobilise your spirit when it's hard and immovable. However, King Jehoshaphat was also there, and Elisha liked him, so Elisha said to King Joram, "As the Lord of hosts lives, before whom I stand, were it not that I regard the presence of Jehoshaphat the king of Judah, I would not look at you nor see you. 'But now bring me a minstrel.' And it came about, when the minstrel played, that the hand of the Lord came upon him" (2 Kings 3:14-15). And so music charmed Elisha to see God's word and proclaim it. Paloma's song, in a different vein, also had its own charms that will probably work on most men willing to open their heart and "listen without prejudice".

Faith continued,

"You don't have to man up
That phrase kinda sucks
Let yourself be free
And open up to me."

I know masculinity can be a burden to bear and a poisoned chalice to those who fall foul to their own macho image. Paloma herself says, "The song questions whether global conflicts would cease to exist if men successfully dealt with their feelings. Would things be resolved without attack and with measured discussion?" I had never thought of worldwide unrest in those terms, could it be that simple?

The song was released 31st August 2017; it's been in the charts for eight weeks now. The melody demands that Paloma reaches high in the chorus followed by a delightful cascading arpeggio. She also reaches high with her task of beseeching men to open up their hearts, and executes it quite beautifully.

Crybaby's bridge says

"Nothing's the end of the world
Feeling this pain and it's gonna be alright
One day you'll look back and know
It wasn't worth all the heartache
This could be the making of you
So let it all out, let it fall down."

Yeah, I can see her point. I've certainly felt like crying lately and, while we're being honest, I have shed a few tears, in the car, at home and even in McDonald's. I need to man up! Or do I? CR

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.