Song of the Week – Just the Way You Are by Billy Joel

Chords  Lyrics
This song has been a favorite of mine for many years. I went through an obsession with this artist for some time when I was a teenage. The melody and lyrics interact so sweetly in this simple song.

Due to our extra posts this month, this may be the only standard Song of the Week post, so I considered carefully what song I wanted to spotlight. I chose this from Allison Rayburn’s list because I think it embodies one of the greatest joys and also greatest struggles in any longterm relationship (specifically, a marriage).
When you are young and searching for love, one of the most important things on your list of attributes in a partner can be loving you just how you are. Not trying to change you or ignore the annoying quirks that make you unique. In that sense, the message in this song can be the most romantic thing a person can say to another. I love you Just the way you are… everything that makes you, You.

Don’t go changing to try and please me
You never let me down before
Don’t imagine you’re too familiar
And I don’t see you anymore

However, ideally a marriage will last most of your life. And life has many seasons for all of us. Change will inevitably occur, either naturally or driven by the emotional, spiritual, or physical need of an individual. In that spectrum, this song puts voice to the very thing that may be challenging a marriage to thrive.

Don’t go trying some new fashion
Don’t change the color of your hair
You always have my unspoken passion
Although I might not seem to care

The singer may be trying too hard to hold onto the person he initially fell in love with, while the subject of the song may be needing to change aspects about their person in order to be happy and feel fulfillment and livelihood. Allison Rayburn addressed this briefly in my interview with her saying that “We hope that in therapy they can find a new balance. That doesn’t mean equal, but reaching a healthy balance for them. But if they are not invested to the point where they don’t seek change, that may be reflective of how they are able to change in their relationship.”
This is why consistent communication and interaction is so important, but often so difficult in a marriage. The two must be able to reacquaint themselves with their partner at each changing season, keep the relationship fresh and new. These are just some brief thoughts of mine on this song. 

Some musical things to consider:
The original instrumentation is keyboard (some kind of synthesizer setting) and voice. There is also a saxophone and supportive percussion.
The chords are played synchronized (meaning not on the beats), so it can be confusing to try and read the sheet music. I find it best to just try to feel the offbeats, rather than counting out the rhythm.
I have the sheet music for this song as well as some other popular songs by Billy Joel in a book called the Billy Joel Keyboard Book. And it has many exact transcriptions of his songs that I find enjoyable to play as well as fairly easy. I will put a link to the book on our Resources page if you want to check it out. I highly reccomend getting it, for clinical or personal use.

Have a great week everyone! Next week I will be posting an original song on my wedding anniversary. Just to warn you… it’s extremely cheesy. But more to come about that later.

Be musical,
Catherine

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