When the headlines began flooding with #MeToo stories, many celebrities fell from grace, causing shock and disillusionment among their fans.
For me, the first big shocker came during the early stages of the #MeToo wave: Bill Cosby. I grew up watching “The Cosby Show” and listening to some of his stand-up comedy. When the allegations against him became public, that father figure – and “Fat Albert” voice – image was forever tarnished. The disillusionment continued – a news anchor on a TV show I occasionally watched, the producer whose movies I enjoyed, actors I admired, the list went on and on and it seemed like everyday somebody else’s dark secrets were being revealed.
Sure, it was shocking for fans and difficult for the women who spoke out, but what about the others who were affected? The wives and families of the accused?
That’s what was in my mind when I wrote this next song: “A Stranger Who Looks Like You.” I was thinking about the wives finding out about what was really going on when their husband were “working late at the office” or on business trips and what it must have been like to discover the truth.
I don’t remember where we were that night
I had a sneaky suspicion something wasn’t right
The air felt heavy, you avoided my eyes
Soon you removed your shiny disguise
Many people have experienced that feeling when you’re pretty certain you are about to hear some crushing news from someone. Time seems to slow down and you don’t want it to move forward because you want to avoid the inevitable. But that time doesn’t last long because at some point you have to face the truth and begin processing it.
As your story unraveled, messages unscrambled
I tried to decipher what was true
The room began spinning, there was no chance of winning
I was facing a stranger who looks like you
The second verse continues the story, with the bad news becoming more like a bad dream and the internal struggle while trying to comprehend how you arrived at this moment.
I can’t remember what I said that night
Torn to pieces with no will to fight
I saw the headlines, like swords to my heart
I never dreamt this could all fall apart
I changed the bridge after bringing this song to my song workshop. The bridge made it clear that it was based on the #metoo movement because it referenced Hollywood, but the feedback was that having a direct reference to that took away from the song because the rest of it is first person from one point of view and the previous bridge felt out of place.
Here’s the revised bridge:
All of your secrets, all of your lies
All that I once loved, I’ve come to despise
That references the point in the relationship when the things that initially attracted you to a person – such as charm and certain mannerisms – have soured and now they repulse you.
My favorite line is the last line of the chorus – “I was facing a stranger who looks like you.” Although in the song it comes from the point of view of the wife, it was my thought when I saw the tarnished celebrity after the allegations. They still looked like the actor or whatever they were that I was familiar with, but they were no longer the person I imagined them to be.