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“Out Of Order” — Duncan Sheik

“Out Of Order” is the seventh track of Duncan Sheik’s eponymous 1996 debut album.  Fifteen years later, I am given to wonder why “Out Of Order” was not a choice for a single over the less impressive “Reasons For Living” — but I lean toward cutting Sheik some slack since the decision was probably made by Atlantic and thus completely out of his hands.

I hear what you’re sayin’
I may seem out of order
Nothing’s quite the same now
As it ever was before her
And you’re lookin’ at me
With one of those sideways glances
You say I’m givin’ up too much
And takin’ too many chances

It is tempting to presume the ensorcelled narrator is male and is being counseled by another male friend; but the genders of the narrator and narrator’s friend have no bearing upon the meaning of the tune.  It’s a situation in which most of us have found ourselves on one side:  either blinded by love or lust because someone batted his or her eyes at us and consequently having jettisoned our brain which in turn gives us license to ignore the curiously savvy advice of an outsider; or else playing the roll of the curiously savvy outsider desperately pleading with our friend to see reality but possibly with a selfish agenda of our own.  To wit:

But I won’t believe you now
I’ve got to check this out
Nothin’ you can say
Will convince me otherwise
You’re just tryin’ to be a friend
I know the message is well meant
But none of it does compare to her eyes

What is most mindbending about this scenario is that if the rolls were reversed, the narrator’s friend (who is hypothetically flummoxed by someone) would turn an equally deaf ear to the pleas of the narrator (who has magically become the curiously savvy outsider).  This is the real kicker — we so freely dispense advice to others that we would abjure with alacrity if we found ourselves in the same situation receiving the advice we so adamantly offered.

Is it really so difficult to view our own lives with the same Lecteresque clarity by which we judge everyone else’s predicaments?

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