Something To Believe In

Something To Believe In (M.Steele/D.White/E.Lowen/D.Navarro)

Year: 1988
Band: Bangles
Album: Everything
First Live Performance: 7/23/88
Last Live Performance: 9/13/89

Tabs:
Guitar
Bass


Lyrics:

When I saw you for the first time
Eyes the color of the ocean
Something moved inside of me
Long forgotten lying broken

Now I can’t turn away
Watching you as you lay sleeping
Can you hear winds of change
Is this something to believe in

I lost direction in the darkness
Couldn’t stop myself from running
I could feel the sun on my back
But I was afraid to let the light in

Now I can’t run anymore
Now I see this gift you bring me
Can you hear winds of change
Maybe this loser’s luck is turning

I will carry you in my heart
I will hold you in my memory
You could be a million miles away
But when I call
You will hear me

Analysis:

The second of three Michael tracks on Everything, Something To Believe In is a lush ballad fondly remembered by many Bangles fans, although it was never played live after 1989. It is also one of the few MS songs for which details of its composition are known: according to Dan Navarro, the song was almost entirely written by Michael, save for a section of the instrumental middle 8. (She nonetheless gave her cowriters equal credit and royalties, because she is Michael Steele.)

Something To Believe In is fairly unusual for Michael in being a love song told in first-person, its images focused on the redemptive effect of love. The song’s movingly sung coda situates it after the relationship has ended, while telling of its ongoing impact. What she once thought to be ‘long forgotten’ will remain with her, in her heart and memory. One interpretation has even suggested the closing lines ‘when I call / you will hear me’ refers to the conclusion of Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, in which physically separated lovers remain psychologically connected, and a distant call is answered.

Lowen and Navarro later recorded a version of the song for a live album, and it continued to occasionally appear in their live sets even after the Bangles no longer played it.

Quotes:

“And she and I and Eric and David White all get together and bash out some stuff. We only got to this far — got to the (hums the bridge of “Something To Believe In”) …

GL: Ah, wait, you mean that sort of odd middle eight …?

DN: The odd middle eight in “Something To Believe In,” exactly. We did that, and we did something else, and then we left it alone. Micki goes off and finishes the song. Writes the whole lyric, uses this bit, cuts us in equally. I will never stop being grateful for the fact that she cut us in 25 percent each even though she wrote 75 percent of that song off the little bits that we crafted together. We heard the song, and it’s beautiful, it’s gorgeous.”

“DN: I’ve always wondered what Micki’s reluctance to truly go solo was — to actually craft a statement, put it out there and live by it. And maybe she did with her bands, ‘cause I wasn’t hanging with her, so I can’t know what was really going on. But from a public standpoint, it simply seemed like she wasn’t doing the obvious thing. She was always the one where, when her songs were on a record — “Following” was the biggest example of that — it stood out above everything else as: This is a unique talent. This is not a little Bangle girl. This is somebody who’s in some ways better than all of them.

GL: Yeah, you hear that song, and you’re like, “Wait, did somebody stick a Joni Mitchell track on this album by mistake? What is this?”

DN: It’s pretty cool. And frankly, in some ways, the same thing occurred with “Something To Believe In.” I think she was dealing emotionally with Brad (Shepherd). That’s what I really think that song is about.” – Dan Navarro

Reviews:

“”Everything” also shows the effects of too much democracy, revealing the weaknesses within this combination of four different musical personalities as well as the strengths….Most of the album’s highlights are provided by bassist Michael Steele, whose three contributions show musical maturity without sacrificing any of the band’s tuneful accessibility.” -Don McLeese, ‘Bangles promise ‘Everything’ but fail to deliver’, Chicago Sun-Times 24 October 1988

1 Comment

  1. It’s an awesome “moving” song that I’ve been playing the heck out of. Not so sure it’s the lyrics that I am listening to but the beautiful voice that is singing it that really makes this song a pleasure to listen to over and over again.

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