Thursday, July 17, 2008

THE DEVIL INSIDE

"Your eyes are full of surprises, they cannot predict my fate."--Madonna

That's from "Devil Wouldn't Recognize You"--the best thing on Hard Candy. It's unmistakably a Timbaland joint (quite similar in production values to Justin Timberlake's "What Goes Around...Comes Around") and lyrically, the most sophisticated song on the album. My best friend, Dave, a hardcore Madonna fan, recently told me that she'll be performing this one on her upcoming "Sticky and Sweet" tour, which, for me, is more exciting news than Britney's much-ballyhooed video cameo. On a CD that emphasizes sound over vision, "Devil Wouldn't Recognize You" stands out and, along with the closing "Voices," provides a much-needed dose of gravity.

I relate to the above lyric to an almost scary degree. Despite what she sings here, in the song's second line, Madonna soon makes it abundantly clear that she sees right through this master of deceit. Boy, have I been there! I'm wrong about a lot of things, but very rarely about people. I've always been an astute judge of character. Interestingly and disconcertingly, my intuition generally alerts me to the bad rather than to the good in people. All it takes is a subtle look or gesture--or sometimes just my own gut feeling--to warn me that someone will soon do me wrong or that I'm seeing the person for the last time. On the plus side, my heart never has been seriously broken. Because I can sense potential heartbreak from miles away, when it finally arrives, my heart is safely tucked away in its protective armor.

This quality comes in handy in a city like Buenos Aires, where people are fickle and run as hot and cold as the water in the shower. You never know whom you'll get on any given day, with Federico's ever-changing moods and Martín's pretty words masking ulterior motives. But in New York, leopards rarely change their spots, and once a jerk, always a jerk. Even the least intuitive folks know where they stand with pretty much everyone. For better or worse, people are direct, and blunt honesty is considered to be truly a virtue. Here in BA, actions actually do speak louder than words--and in a completely different language. Ah, the games people play. I still haven't figured out whether this two-faced routine is actually (and unintentionally?) compassionate--we all talk up honesty, but can we really handle the truth?--or just incredibly (and intentionally?) cruel.

I'm waiting for the day--and the person--that will surprise me and prove me wrong. Bring it!
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