In Hear This, The A.V. Club writers sing the praises of songs they know well. This week: In honor of Leap Day, we pick our favorite songs about time.
By 1997, both fame and indulgence had caught up to Oasis. The studio process for the band’s third album, Be Here Now, was by all accounts marred by disagreements and drug use, which is perhaps why the record was characterized by such descriptions as “a cocaine-fuelled caricature.” Still, Be Here Now wasn’t all meritless swagger and empty bluster: One positive effect of the band’s wobbly status is that these songs often felt uncertain, with lyrics reflecting failed attempts at trying to connect with others or be understood.
The slow-burning, string-augmented “Don’t Go Away,” a Top 5 modern-rock radio hit in late 1997, wears its dread and desperation especially well. The song’s protagonist is watching a relationship slip through his fingers, but he’s hampered by inarticulate thoughts and a deep awareness that things between them are dysfunctional. Still, he’s certain of his loyalty, along with a desire to be with his partner through good and bad. The only thing he can think to do is beg this person to stay (ideally “forever and a day”), because he needs “more time just to make things right.” It’s an innocent request, and a rather simple one at that: No matter what happened in the past—or how fractured things are in the present—sticking together will solve their problems. Of course, there’s no guarantee that will actually happen, but “Don’t Go Away” is charming because of its dogged faith in the healing power of time.