Have you ever heard a song that just fits so perfectly with your life? Like every single word and beat of that song echoes your heart’s truth to where you feel like you wrote the song. This happened to me the other day when I discovered Bonnie Raitt’s song “I Can’t Make You Love Me,” making it #PhillipsSongOfTheDay.
The song, written by Mike Reid and Allen Shamblin – Shamblin also co-wrote Miranda Lambert’s Grammy-winning hit “The House That Built Me” – tells the story of a person trying to get over heartache. The narrator finds herself in love with someone, realizing that, for whatever reason, that person will never love her. It’s a rather depressive song, but it’s a song of reality, of recognizing the truth of a situation and starting the struggle of moving on.
The start of the song is a bit slow; the organ/piano and soft drums creates this rather bluesy/jazzy feel that may put you to sleep. But once you get a minute into the song and reach the chorus, that’s where the magic starts. Raitt sings:
‘Cuz I can’t make you love me
If you don’t.
You can’t make your heart feel
Something it won’t.
It’s the harsh truth, and it’s bittersweet; we want to get better, get over heartbreak, but it’s hard. I also think it’s at this chorus where Raitt’s vocals just shine and pulls at your heartstrings. It’s magic.
Bonnie Raitt, “I Can’t Make You Love Me,” (chorus at 1:13).
“I Can’t Make You Love Me” has, in fact, been covered by a lot of people. The most famous might be Adele’s cover in her iTunes Session and her CD/DVD combo Adele: Live at the Royal Albert Hall. I’ve heard of this song precisely because I saw people covering it, and it never made an impression with me until I heard the original, Raitt version. There’s just something very special and raw about Bonnie Raitt and her performance, and it’s one of those songs that shouldn’t be covered by people. Kind of like Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide” and “Bette Davis Eyes” by Kim Carnes: people try to cover them, but nothing will compare to the original.