I’m not a big Willie Nelson fan. He’s from Texas, so that’s a point in his favor. Smokes dope, which is a point in his favor for going his own way and doing his own thing, but a point against for breaking the law. Yes, I am that square. The law should be changed, people should be able to do as they want without hurting others, but the law is the law - for now. On the other hand the cops who have picked on him are jerks. No harm no foul. So I guess I give him some level of respect for being his own man. Musically I know little about him. Country, which I’m not a fan of. I think that On The Road Again is one of the very few of his songs that I could name. I’m sure there are others, I just don’t know enough country to be able to tell you.
So, why all this about Willie? Because this song, Slow Dancing, was supposedly written for him by Bono. Written during the period when Bono was insecure in his stardom and writing songs for famous singers (see Two Shots Of Happy or The Wanderer for example), trying to suck up and hang out with them I guess. Seems like they recorded and released it (on the back of the Stay single), and then a few years later managed to get Willie to record it, which then got released on Duals. The Stay version is very simple, just one guitar, no bass, no drums, and Bono singing. The Willie version is much more processed, multiple people involved, the full drums and bass and harmonica and backing singers and everything. Have to admit that Willie’s voice on this song irritates me like nails on a chalkboard, I’ve heard him on other songs not sounding quite as screechy as this. I much prefer the Stay version, my rating below is for that, the Willie version would be a 1. Although if you check Youtube for the song, you’ll see a slightly different version with them all, presumably at the same recording session, and I think I like that one better, maybe a 2.
A love song, which you probably could consider a country song even when Bono is doing it. Slow (duh), something I could learn to play, slow enough for me to have a chance. Lyrically very nice, and you’ll notice there’s not a repeat of any lines anywhere (except for the slow dancing part, which hardly counts). Love the line “She left with my conscience, I don’t want it back, it just gets in the way”. That is a very personal line to come up with, makes me think he’s talking about former girlfriends, although since he’s been with Ali forever I don’t know how he can get that emotion into a song. The other one is the “sees the truth but believes the lies” line, kind of along the same theme. So now it makes me wonder if this is really a song about love, or about lost love, which is a completely different thing.
My rating for Slow Dancing: 4 / 10