The Isley Brothers - Footsteps in the Dark
This is a 2 part post.
Songs often focus on dramatic upswings or downturns; leaving someone, getting left, meeting a new lover, falling in love, getting married, so on and so on. Very rarely are songs (hits, at least) about mundane or everyday actions or emotions that drive us between the moments of falling in love and falling out of it.
Two of my favorite songs deal with a topic rarely discussed on the hit parade: the reevaluation of a relationship. The two songs I’m discussing in particular are Footsteps in the Dark by the Isley Brothers and Heart to Heart by Kenny Loggins.
The old guys from the R. Kelly videos and that yacht rocker from the 80’s, you ask? These people are who you’ve decided to give kudos to for dealing with tough emotional issues in a pop song?
As I get older and understand more of the idiosyncratic nature of humans, I ironically have felt drawn to “adult contemporary” artists. This is probably because many of them are GOOD. Yep. It’s the shit your dad listens to in his study when he’s alone. You know why? Because your dad needs a goddamn break from taking care of your dumb, spoiled ass and listening to your mother bitch about the assholes on city council.
Footsteps in the Dark is, to my generation at least, known as the song Ice Cube sampled for his hit “It Was a Good Day”. This is shameful, because Ice Cube can eat dicks compared to the brilliance of the Isley Brothers, and they’re not even in my top 10 favorite musicians list. This song is often touted as a song about infidelity, and while I can understand this interpretation, I see a much softer, vague, blurry meaning: the voice wonders about infidelity both on his part and his lover’s, but it is implied as looking down other corridors and hallways, as a confession we have all gone through if you’ve been with someone long enough. The voice wonders if he loves his partner enough to keep going with this relationship; what other options there are, and whether they’re worth taking. In the end, much like in real life, the voice settles on (for the moment at least) staying with the lover that has been around for so long and gone though so much. The voice, after all, still loves this person and feels it’s worth it to continue the affair with the subtle recommendation they both stay aware of their feelings and appreciate each other. Sage advice.
Footsteps in the DarkAre we really sure,