Videos by American Songwriter
Warning: This Lyric of the Week contains Breaking Bad spoilers.
Two weeks ago, “Baby Blue” was just a normal song. Today, it’s the most talked-about tune on the internet, riding high on the pop-culture explosion known as Breaking Bad. Over 10 million watched the show’s finale last weekend, which ended with an aerial shot of Walter White on the floor of a meth lab, dying to the sounds of Badfinger’s last hit single. By the next morning, the song had been downloaded over 5,000 times… and that was just the first 12 hours.
But who cares about sales? [Apart from the Badfinger estate, which got screwed over for years by pretty much everyone in the music industry. They’re finally getting some well-deserved cash. We’re happy for those guys.] Mostly, though, we care about the way that “Baby Blue” — a song about the sort of breakup that happens on accident, then resists repair — totally works as a soft rock summary of Breaking Bad. The baby blue part describes Walter’s blue-colored meth. The opening line (“Guess I got what I deserve”) describes his state of mind at the end of the series — not quite apologetic, but certainly more realistic than he’d been during the first four seasons. And the rest of the tune feels like a love song to Walter’s bad habits, a half-sweet/half-sad tribute to the lifestyle that made him “feel alive,” as he told Skyler earlier in the episode, but wound up killing him in the end, too. Love hurts.
Was there any other band that felt as much pain as Badfinger? Probably not. They were swindled out of every dollar they earned. Their label went broke. Their albums got shelved. Their two leaders both committed suicide. If anyone could sell a heartbroken love song, it was these guys. And if anything could’ve summed up Breaking Bad — a heartbreaking show if there ever was one — it was this tune. Here’s to the special love we have for both.