#469: Fugees, "The Score" (1996)

5 months it took
to think there was only you and to you I thought
there was only I

5 months it took
to wrap and melody scrap into a 13-track present
a red giant, the success of the star in its prime
exploded into a dark black hole
a white dwarf
and then nothing more
but were you keeping score?

seasons change, mad things rearrange
from empty winters to full springs to blossom summers
what seemed like a welcome change
became an unseen rearrange

I thought we were making music
but ask me again why I am here
ask New Jersey, how do you feel
looking out across the river
at that glittering red delicious
flawless and shiny—ting!
but a bite will soon uncover
unexpected, a bee sting
a mealy and dejected inside
too late, gone bad
a returned engagement ring

ask me how I feel
looking out across the aisle
I want that
wake up early make you breakfast
kind of love, that
let you win this game of checkers because
it’s cute when you do your winner-dance
kind of love, that
wrap your arm into my arm pretzel style
kind of love
because love isn’t something you say
it’s something you do

Illustration by S.H. Lohmann

Illustration by S.H. Lohmann

he was
strumming my pain with his fingers
he was
stringing me along with his words
I thought we had that
that glittering red delicious
that kind of love
but what kind of love
is conditional?
I never signed up for the kind of love
that wears a trenchcoat of promises
I think it’s
that kind of love
and yet, I catch my breath and there’s no one behind me

5 months it took me to realize
I should have been keeping the score
it was
the kind of love that makes you
the ever-optimist
maybe not this time, maybe another
full of hopes and excuses
the kind of love that makes you
the all-forgiving, a Mother Teresa
the kind of love that makes you
be the person you always said you didn’t think you’d be

warn the town the beast is loose
angry, you say fuck the system
I ask, why did you ever trust it
you knew what you were getting into

I was married

but it was real

I told you
time and time again

how do you think it made me feel?

I was pregnant

but it wasn’t mine

I put my everything in this

it went platinum, times six

who cared

like a Marilyn Monroe blonde
bottled I bought it for pennies

it was just 5 months

but that 5 months
in that basement
became my prison
the words, the chain on my leg

I was always told, be true and love freely
but why wasn’t I also told,
love freely but beware
those who fall too quick
will reach the bottom first

but maybe falling too quick
is the price I pay for enlightenment
there is no time for regret when what you’ve got left
is a masterpiece
a compilation of hurt and love
and those a-ha moments
carry you through

because it’s much easier to think it never meant nothing
than to think it once did
and that it just slipped away into a smoky wisp
like the candle that burned bright
I still smell the smoke of that once flame
but I know better than to dip my finger into
the hot wax
in this great future you can't forget your past
so dry your tears I say

fall hard, burn first
pain may be pleasure, but even if the pleasure’s worth the pain
wisdom without understanding
success without humility
love without respect
what is it?
what came of it?
they were keeping score but
what is it?
what came of it?

everything's gonna be alright, everything's gonna be alright
Fugees come to the dance tonight, everything's gonna be alright

—Prarthana Gurung