Perfect Love (30 Days of Marc Cohn — Day 10)

Perfect Love
Marc Cohn

This is another gentle song.  It’s incredibly an incredibly sweet tale.  I have to wonder if a real couple served as a model and if so, who?  It’s not his parents (since we know Marc’s mom died when he was young) and it’s not him (because he would have been 5 years old when “they worked one summer together at the ’64 World’s Fair” and he didn’t marry until 1999.

By the way, we should take a moment to appreciate the writing in “They met Bobby Kennedy there … it was just before the fall”.  There’s the literal meeting, of course — RFK visited the Fair in late summer and they met him.   But there’s always something bittersweet about the Kennedys in American pop culture, and 1964 is not too long before 1968 and RFK’s assassination … which is a more metaphorical fall.

It’s also impressive how he sums up a pair of lives across many years using just a bridge and a few lines of verse.  You can see their lives play out like on a home movie — the jobs, the kids, the struggles, the quiet triumphs — and it’s all caught up in “Well, they had their share of hard times too / But whatever they were, they never let it get them down.”

Then the song ends with its gentle evocation of what, maybe, everyone wants: Their quiet comfort together, holding hands, probably not saying much because they’ve said it all before many times.  This is the “one safe place” he’s longing for — not a where but a who.

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