Cover Girl

Cover Girl (M. Steele/C.Dolan)

Year: 1994
Band: Crash Wisdom
Album: Unreleased
First Live Performance: 5/12/94
Last  Live Performance: 5/12/94



Every day as you pass me by
I see the sadness behind your smile
You see the face everywhere you turn
Who could replace your cover girl

Not the one by your side
With adoring eyes
She’s got substance and style
But you don’t feel the same inside

In this old world of imagined scorn
Searching our heart for a man so young
Go through the motions, but you feel sure
No one could touch your cover girl

With grief in my eyes, it’s a fact of life
But you are doomed,
Doomed from the start
She’s the saddest girl alive

No one can help when she falls apart
No one can stop her, she’ll self destruct
It’s not your failing, try to understand
No one could love that girl enough


Cover Girl is one of the two Michael songs (the other being The World You Leave Behind) that currently only exists in a single live recording, and the only song that appears on the 5/12/94 setlist to not be played on 6/2/94. Whether the song was played again live or as a studio-recorded number is currently unknown, although it is quite possible the song has an earlier date of composition, given CW marked the live debut of older tunes such as Between The Two and Bird of Prey among others.

The lyrics initially describe a man obsessed with his ‘cover girl’, his love for her effectively preventing him from loving others in his own life, as the ideal is too strong. (“You feel sure/No one could touch your cover girl”) In the final verses however, this perspective shifts to focus more upon the cover girl and her own sad situation, a shift that has the effect of revealing the person behind the ideal.

Due to its similar title and theme of misplaced love, it is also possible to see Cover Girl as a sequel song to Everything’s Complicated Girl. Indeed, both songs are also told as messages directed towards the male figures in them (i.e. ‘You call her on the phone…’, ‘Its not your failing…”) The difference between these songs is that Cover Girl takes a much more sympathetic perspective towards the titular woman. Where Complicated Girl sees ‘Valerie’ as deviously manipulating her lovers, the cover girl is depicted as a tragic figure beyond help and doomed to self-destruct.

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