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Moonlight Motel


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Of course any of these could be correct, or none of them.

My take (and I’m sticking to it!) is that the MM was where they went (for any number of reasons... I like to think it was just a once romantic spot) when they were younger.  

He goes back there to reminisce and honor her/them because it was the place they first started their relationship; before they married.  Before reality set in... the bills and kids and kids and bills job responsibilities took over.  

Now she’s passed (so yes, they’re definitely gone their separate ways :D), and he’s honoring their life and the fact it’s better to have loved.  Even when it’s unbearably painful when your beloved is gone.   

 

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I'll have to get around to reading all the lyrics of every song one of these days … but isn't it an album of what-might-have-beens?

If I had the vinyl I would read the lyrics. :)

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8 minutes ago, bettertohaveloved said:

I'll have to get around to reading all the lyrics of every song one of these days … but isn't it an album of what-might-have-beens?

If I had the vinyl I would read the lyrics. :)

For a few of the songs, yes.  But not all.  Here’s a VERY quick overview of my take (and I do have the lyrics w/the CD!). 

The first two I think are about being young, seeing the world, going on an adventure, finding your place in the world. 

TT, to me is about reflecting on your mistakes and doing your best to do better to create a happy future.  That’s why I 100% believe she’s on the train.  

WS to me is about appreciation for and making the best of what you have, while being realistic about what is

Sleepy Joe’s is a happy story of Joe and Mae and the escape they created for the locals and tourists to drink and sing and dance and just enjoy life. 

Drive Fast to me is about seeing past the scars (the ones you can see, and the ones we bury) that we all carry; making a commitment, and to just keep moving forward.  

Chasin’ Wild Horses, Nashville, Stones, Miracle   are the ones that to me are the regret/what might have been/I wish things could’ve been different songs. 

Sundown-  Again, some regrets that his behavior has led to his love leaving; also obviously fighting depression. 

Hello Sunshine to me is he’s self aware and acknowledges his ways, but has worked hard to overcome the depression.  

So yes, definitely all a reflection of different parts of the life of the character/characters (some think it’s one narrator/character, others think there are multiple characters), but not necessarily all what might have been type reflections, IMO! 

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23 minutes ago, shirlsdins said:

I was just thinking about the line, pulled into my old spot. 

Did the character work at the motel and met the girl there?

Oooo... maybe! Maybe they both did! 

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On 7/27/2019 at 9:34 AM, Frankie Roberts said:

Definitely a widower.

My mother died last year and this breaks me up at the thought of my dad on his own and looking back on their time together.

I hope and mostly believe I'm wrong but my first impression was the third shot was a very different and much louder kind than the first two.

Like I said I hope I'm wrong

im sorry about your mom

i hope your dad is doing ok even though he must miss her so much

 

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1 hour ago, rosiejaneymary said:

My take (and I’m sticking to it!) is that the MM was where they went (for any number of reasons... I like to think it was just a once romantic spot) when they were younger.  

He goes back there to reminisce and honor her/them because it was the place they first started their relationship; before they married.  Before reality set in... the bills and kids and kids and bills job responsibilities took over.  

Now she’s passed (so yes, they’re definitely gone their separate ways :D), and he’s honoring their life and the fact it’s better to have loved.  Even when it’s unbearably painful when your beloved is gone.  

This.  Every line of the song is consistent with this story.
It's a bittersweet end to the album because it tells not of remorse and regrets, not of faithlessness and lies, but ordinary lives lived in love and contentment.  The happiness is tempered by the inevitable fact of death, which was always going to separate them one day.
But .... it's better to have loved.   That's the message.

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3 hours ago, shirlsdins said:

I was just thinking about the line, pulled into my old spot. 

 

I love this part so much.  Still the greatest song of the century for me.  

Can't take how good and masterfully constructed it is.  Anyone who wants to take songwriting 101 ought to take a listen to this baby.  

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2 hours ago, Rizla said:

This.  Every line of the song is consistent with this story.
It's a bittersweet end to the album because it tells not of remorse and regrets, not of faithlessness and lies, but ordinary lives lived in love and contentment.  The happiness is tempered by the inevitable fact of death, which was always going to separate them one day.
But .... it's better to have loved.   That's the message.

I also interpret the song as such. You have both done a remarkable job putting my thoughts into words.

As for "it's better to have loved"...my greatest fear is having to find out whether that's true or not.

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1 hour ago, HeroOfVirtue said:

I also interpret the song as such. You have both done a remarkable job putting my thoughts into words.

As for "it's better to have loved"...my greatest fear is having to find out whether that's true or not.

just to steer the conversation away from the deathly serouse 

i feel quite happy to see your avitar picture again when i open up greasy lake

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9 hours ago, rosiejaneymary said:

Of course any of these could be correct, or none of them.

My take (and I’m sticking to it!) is that the MM was where they went (for any number of reasons... I like to think it was just a once romantic spot) when they were younger.  

He goes back there to reminisce and honor her/them because it was the place they first started their relationship; before they married.  Before reality set in... the bills and kids and kids and bills job responsibilities took over.  

Now she’s passed (so yes, they’re definitely gone their separate ways :D), and he’s honoring their life and the fact it’s better to have loved.  Even when it’s unbearably painful when your beloved is gone.   

 

That is my interpretation too.

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10 hours ago, HeroOfVirtue said:

As for "it's better to have loved"...my greatest fear is having to find out whether that's true or not.

I think it is always better to have loved.

Love is not wasted, even if it ends in sadness or pain. It has ennobled you in any case.

What would be the alternative? Go through life indifferent or fearful of giving of yourself because you might be hurt?

Better to have loved

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11 hours ago, whispered secret said:

That is my interpretation too.

Mine too, that's what I felt when I first heard it and still the interpretation I prefer.

Although most of the alternative suggestions I've heard could be equally true, I guess only Bruce knows.

And that's also what makes this is such an incredible song that has generated it's own 11 pages of discussion (so far)

 

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  • 3 months later...

This is how I interpret this beaut of a song.

The MM is a secret getaway for our character and his lover. He’s married, but he’s in love with this mystery woman who he is having an affair with.  “Your whispered secret I promised I’d never tell”. Also, if it was a normal relationship, why is he heading off to a desolate, run down motel with this secret woman? They don’t want anyone to know they are there.

His real life is boring to him (bills and kids, kids and bills line refers to this), and the excitement he got from the affair made him feel alive. But he (or they) decided to end the affair because the guilt and morality built up and they couldn’t do it anymore.

Years later, still married, he decides to meet her one last time back there, so they can reminisce on something that was more than just a lustful exchange. It was love, but they can’t be together because it will destroy their married lives and they don’t want to break up their families.  Hence, it’s better to have loved......

Think about the line, “last night I dreamed of you, my lover”

Why ‘lover’? why not ‘love’? If it was his wife/girlfriend, wouldn’t he refer to her as his love? For me this is a big clue. He had a wife, but he’s singing about his lover.

Thats how I read it, and of course, I may be wrong, but I like to think this is the story Bruce is trying to tell with this one.  Either way, it really is a gem of a track!!

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OR, she’s married but he isn’t and she ended it after a while, to save her marriage. He’s still in love with her but he can’t be with her. The pain for him is tremendous but she tells him it’s better to have loved.....

She agreed to meet him one last time at the place they spent so many happy moments together.

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On 7/27/2019 at 10:31 PM, shirlsdins said:

I was just thinking about the line, pulled into my old spot. 

Did the character work at the motel and met the girl there?

Theirs was a secret, sexual rendezvous. His 'old spot' was around the back, hidden from view.

Later on they married. And had kids. And bills. And bills and kids.

Then she died. Now he reminisces. And Bruce kindly wrote a song about them, and Patti kindly sings on the live record to symbolise the deceased lady's spirit.

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However it's interpreted - they were married, had an affair, they weren't married but had some reason for meeting at the motel, one of them was married - whatever, I am convinced that she has died and he is drinking a toast to their love and the motel, even though that one gets poured away. 

 

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31 minutes ago, whispered secret said:

However it's interpreted - they were married, had an affair, they weren't married but had some reason for meeting at the motel, one of them was married - whatever, I am convinced that she has died and he is drinking a toast to their love and the motel, even though that one gets poured away. 

 

I’m not so sure. Why would he pour a third shot on the floor in memory of her? Wouldn’t he pour one for him, pour hers, and then just tip hers out (so he pours the second shot on the floor).

I agree with others who think the third shot is pour out as a tribute to the place they shared their time together.

whatever it is, it’s just another example of Bruce’s excellence, whereby he has written it in such a way which would allow enough ambiguity for it to be a number of variations. That’s what great writing is!

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