Jennifer Love Hewitt - I Believe In...
Today’s post is brought to you by Sojourner “You Can’t Handle The” Truth of Diary of a Mad Blacktress. It is the first in a series of guilty pleasures, as submitted by other writers.
So, um, I have a bit of a secret. I believe in love. I know, crazy, right? I can’t help it. It all started back in 1996 when I purchased the self-titled album of the original girl next door of my youth, Jennifer Love Hewitt (suck it, Katie Holmes–Cruisin’ for a Bruisin!).
Yes, I purchased a Jennifer Love Hewitt album with my own (dad’s) money. If that’s not enough to send every potential male suitor and even some good friends running for the hills, what’s worse is that… I LIKED IT.
I recall sitting in my room and singing along at the age of 12, convinced that Jennifer Love Hewitt was speaking to my soul. When she belted, “I been thinking all night / I been thinking all night / I should have trusted your love / it’s on 20/20 hindsight / I’ve been thinking I don’t want to leave it to fate, so I’m gonna pray just a little / But is it too little, too late?” I knew that my middle school tragedy was understood.
I recently played the J. Love tracks for JJS-III as we sat drinking tea on a crisp New England fall day, and I realized that J. Love resonates now just as much as she did back then. The whole album invokes an early-90s wanna-be R&B vibe, and you’re waiting for a gospel choir of hefty women to chime in during the bridge, but alas, it doesn’t happen. Her voice is perfectly acceptable, and way better than any of today’s tv-starlets-turned-singers (I’m talking to you, Leighton Meester), and what’s even better is that J. Love sends a message, as evidenced in “I Believe In…” – by far her most poignant track (what is in the ellipsis?!). The lyrics are below:
Saw the news today / A teenage boy blown away / Another mother’s lost her only son / He learned his way at school / Fighting is the golden rule / For twenty dollars you can own a gun / I saw the words in red / Someone painted “Love is dead” / On the sign above the football field / I had to turn away / It hurts my soul to think that way / When love is what’s real
‘Cause I believe in / I believe in love / And I believe in / The miracles in us / And no matter what they say / They can never take away / What I believe in / I believe in love
In 1942 / A demon army trampled through / Every inch of her forgotten town / The family hid away / A secret place above decay / And there they lived and breathed / Without a sound / She learned to write that year / Of every scream she’d dare not hear / And every tortured soul / She one day moved / One day the soldiers came / And marched her family to the train / And left her diary right in the street / And it read…
I believe in / I believe in love… (chorus continued)
Why is it that we can’t help but look for / A crack of light in the darkest sky / When will we come to understand / That through right and wrong / Love’s the only thing that’s real / So here we go again / Fighting ’til the bitter end / Better off to go our separate ways / And as you slam the door / I swear that I will love no more / But you can’t believe a word I say / And that’s right…
‘Cause I believe in / I believe in love… (chorus continued)
As you can see, this song touches on many topics. From handgun violence in schools to THE HOLOCAUST (I think she’s even going for “Anne Frank,” proving her literary prowess), and then back to her own tumultuous relationship, Love shows us that her middle name isn’t just kinda cheesy – it’s the only thing we have left to hold on to in this crazy mixed-up world! I mean, who would paint “LOVE IS DEAD” on the football field?! WHO WOULD DO IT?! I also appreciate that she said it “hurt her heart” to think that way – I mean who hasn’t been caused heartache by the denial of Jennifer Love Hewitt’s obvious talent?
No, but for serious – this song is cuckoo bananas and brilliant all at once. When you can go from talking about the Gestapo to your booface in one track, you are not messing around. J. Love paints a picture – a series of vignettes if you will – all linked by the common theme of love. By the common theme of her. If listening to J. Love is a crime, sentence me to LIFE.