While it is undoubtedly terrible when the object of your affection either never wanted you, or simply doesn’t anymore, at least there can be a calm sense of clarity in knowing you have no real agency in the situation. But when two people decide not to be together for reasons that place rationality above emotion, it’s way more difficult. We like to fool ourselves into believing that our willpower – usually trusted and implemented when we are at our strongest – will remain immovable even when we are crying and eating Cheetohs at 2am, looking through old photos and listening to old songs which trigger old feelings, typing and erasing variants of the same misguided missive as you think, “maybe this time it’ll be different…”
In ‘Change Your Mind’ Clare Bowen – or rather her ‘Nashville’ character, mercurial Southern belle Scarlett – is being strong for both her and the lover she knows she shouldn’t want anymore. “When you’re weak and all alone, and you’re reaching for the phone – change your mind”, she implores, and it’s mostly self preservation.
We learn during the song that he left her, and her main reason for keeping him away seems to be to avoid the dramatic retreading that would occur if she were to accept him back. It seems like a pattern she is keen to steer clear of. “Baby, don’t come back this time. Don’t wanna have to say goodbye all over again.”
Most readers will relate to the easy warmth of falling back into a familiar relationship. Bowen/Scarlett does and she wants no part of this cycle. “I don’t wanna do that dance, the push and pull, the second chance. I already know.” And she does. ‘Change Your Mind’ shoots down the easy platitudes that often arise during these emotionally-fraught encounters, ‘forever-speak’ as I am now dubbing it. “You’ll just promise me forever, and then you’ll take it back just like that. Say you can’t live without me, then you’ll change your mind.” It’s all too sadly familiar.
Despite her spot-on twang, Clare Bowen is actually an Australian, while her co-vocalist Sam Palladio is from London – although hopefully they signed draconian contracts that prevent them from ever singing in their natural accents in order to preserve the sanctity of these characters. They probably didn’t, though.
In the past fortnight ‘Nashville’ has unfortunately been cancelled by ABC, which is what happens when TV networks rely more on inaccurate and antiquated ratings systems than observing their fiercely loyal and vocal viewing base. It seems unlikely that the show won’t be given a Hail Mary, Y’all by Netflix (or one of the other streaming services that wants to be Netflix) and luckily the show’s cancellation and this second-life possibility has served to stir up a loyal fanbase over the past few days. The cast members tour frequently, the show rated well, and they sell soundtracks – so it makes sense someone will move to capitalise on all this. Of course, unlike Scarlett’s lover in this song, if any executives from ABC wake up filled with regret at their hasty decision, they should feel free to change their mind.