Monday, September 27, 2010

I Know Him So Well

Why did I decide to blog about this?  Well, for weird reasons.  I was staring at the ceiling and all of a sudden I started to sing, "wasn't it good?"  And I'm pretty certain I didn't hear the song today.  So, there.

It's funny how you grow into a song and it just gets branded onto your heart.  Like Rainbow Connection, for instance.

If you don't already know this, then that's good 'cause you'll have something sensible to read.  I Know Him So Well is a song from the musical Chess, with lyrics by Tim Rice and music by Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson, formerly of ABBA.

In the theatrical setting, it's a duet between Svetlana, a chess champion's estranged wife, and Florence, his mistress.  The song express their bittersweet feelings for him and at seeing their relationships fall apart.

Imagine being someone's wife and seeing your marriage fall apart because your husband saw sparks brighter than yours in another woman's eyes.  And then, you, the mistress will cross paths with the wife years later with your relationship with her ex-husband now broken.  That's the story Svetlana and Florence tell in this song.

Many have recorded covers of this song, and when you hear the lines, they'll probably get you thinking of Whitney and Cissy Houston, or Barbra Streisand and her murdered version perhaps.  (Don't get me wrong, though.  I love Babs.  I just really detest her version.)  But I say this is definitely one of those instances where nothing beats original.  No one can sing this song with as much power and heart as Elaine Paige and Barbra Dickson did for the musical's concept album.  Yes, even if the music video was ultra-minimalistic, it still holds the Guinness World Record as best female duo of all time.