American Songwriter is proud to premiere the video for “Jimmy Choos” from Rickie Lee Jones’ new album The Other Side of Desire. The video was directed by David McClister in New Orleans.
It’s a song that is classic Rickie Lee: pure exultation meets human poignancy. It’s sung to a character spending her time in the darkness – at the Motel Six, at truckstops – but delighting in this shining symbol of light, a pair of expensive Jimmy Choo shoes. Here’s a woman (or perhaps a transvestite, as Rickie Lee explains below) up on her “hot tin roof,” in a beautiful expression of time and place that, at times, brings in the French language (it starts so lovingly, “O Cherie…”), throwing pop bottles down on the cops. It is genius songwriting, set against a beautiful sunny G major melody with a vast melodic range, a melody that would challenge most singers.
She shows us a little movie, so lovingly detailed that we can see it clearly. Then she adds her own admission, which brings the whole thing home: “I know about giving up on yourself/ You don’t have to tell me about giving up.” The compassion in that line, and its endless acceptance of human weakness, brings a whole new dimension to this album, and all her music, that most never touch. She’s always been about hope, about holding onto those rainbow sleeves of romance and heart even when life is dire. Especially then. And it’s an expression of unconditional love, as she ends the song on a hypnotic pedal-tone of sustenance: “Someone loves you tonight,” she repeats. “Someone loves you tonight.”
Asked for a quote about the song, Rickie Lee said via email:
“This was written one evening after a particularly difficult phone call, and when I hung up I took refuge in the guitar. I sang, `O cherie, come and take a ride with me…’ and whatever that spirit is that speaks to me, it spoke through me, and I was lifted.
“I pursued the song, knew it for what it was, a song to make us feel better. I had been working on another song, images of her throwing pop bottles from a roof, a street near my house. Pauline. I put them all together, in her Jimmy Choos. I thought she might be a transvestite, but in the end it didn’t matter.
“Whoever is wearing those shoes, come out tonight, someone loves you. I kept thinking of driving away. In fact so many songs were written of the travel, the river, the train, the car, I’d written a song of the jealousy of the river, how the train can go anywhere, and how the river breaks her bonds to show the train that she too can go anywhere. So maybe all those ideas of loneliness, misguided bravado, friendship and healing, all this went into the seeds of `Jimmy Choos.’”