When your life starts resembling a Phil Collins song, you need to make a change.
It doesn't matter if you love Collins or hate him. Once you start feeling that his lyrics were written for you, it's time to take a good look in the mirror and slap yourself back into shape.
Personally, I'm not a Phil Collins fan, so I was appalled when I once found myself tearing up while "Against All Odds" played in a hair salon.It was bizarre. One second I was fine. The next, I was overcome with the abject loneliness of standing where there's just an empty space. Before I started crying in earnest, I decided that I will not be a woman who can relate to Phil Collins.
It was an empowering decision.
But, eh, it's Phil Collins, so I shoved the whole thing to the back of my mind.
Then I discovered it's not just me. After sobbing over "In Too Deep," someone who knows about my philosophy of Phil asked why these sappy ballads become relevant now that we're in our 30s.
It's an intriguing question.
Seriously, aren't we old enough to know better? Don't we have better taste?
Why does that man have an invisible touch that reaches in and grabs right hold of our hearts?
Between the Genesis discography and his solo work, Collins has found a way to tap into the rawest of emotions and make them the embodiment of your being, at least for the length of a song.
If "In Too Deep" can't cure you of relationship ambivalence, you can always just say, "There was no way to compromise, so now we're living 'separate lives.' "
Is there too much tension 'in the air (tonight)'? If you're not melodramatic enough on your own, you can always wail, "Well, if you told me you were drowning, I would not lend a hand."
Weary of fighting? Just sing "I Don't Care Anymore."
C'mon. It's one thing to wallow, but doing it to a Phil Collins soundtrack is another thing entirely.
The pain he sings about might have come from a real place, but the resulting music is so contrived, so calculatingly gut-wrenching that if it catches me in a vulnerable moment, I feel taken advantage of afterward.
Really, if I'm going to be moved by a song, I want it to feel sincere.
Still, there's no denying that the lyrics become more meaningful with each new disappointment or heartbreak. It's like the more pain I accumulate, the easier it is to bring me full circle to the same state I was in when the songs first came out ... you know, back when I still felt compelled to dedicate songs on the radio to partners and exes.
As I said earlier, Phil Collins isn't my cup of tea, but that's not why I don't want to relate to his music.
I think I just despise him for temporarily making me feel that a song can make a difference, and as I said, I'm old enough to know better.
© Honoluluadvertiser, by Treena Shapiro