“Coming Around Again” by Carly Simon

As noted at the tail end of this post, Carly Simon’s “Coming Around Again” served as the theme song to a movie entitled Heartburn. And the lyrics are a reflection of the plot of the movie, or rather we can say being relayed from the perspective of the main female character. 

I

And perhaps the easiest way to describe this lady is as a frustrated housewife. Indeed the first verse expeditiously lets the listener know that she is in fact such.

We see the wife, i.e. the singer, handling the tasks of motherhood. Meanwhile the husband “breezes in”, insinuating that he is not only regularly absent but also not overly vested in his family life. Then the singer, once again in a terse yet efficient manner, mocks the concept of marriage. 

Or more specifically “on paper”, i.e. in the eyes of the outside world, she and her husband are cool. But the reality of the situation is a lot more “bewildering” than that.

II

Meanwhile the second verse also possesses a sarcastic tone. Yet at the same time it is a more direct illustration of the singer’s frustration. She begins by delineating a few of her everyday chores. 

It can also be asserted that she is perhaps cynically addressing the monotony of it all. Then the second half of the passage contrasts the first by noting certain misfortunes she also experiences while carrying out her duties.

III

That then brings us to the chorus, which we will say is deceptively complex. One theory concerning its meaning is that it represents the singer’s patience towards – or rather acceptance of the situation at hand. And indeed the character, as portrayed in the movie, pretty much endured all the BS she could from her husband.

Lyrics of "Coming Around Again"

But there is a deeper way of interpreting this segment and the title at large. Yes, the narrator does take a mature approach throughout, never letting her emotions get the best of her. For instance, she understands that in such matters as marriage, “nothing stays the same”. Or put otherwise, people change. So she isn’t going to overreact to her husband’s transiency and apparent lack of dedication in the present.

But then after putting forth such a disposition, as in accepting the fact that he’s ‘playing the game’, she then asserts that “it’s coming around again”. The way this statement has been somewhat-euphemistically understood, within the entire context of the song, is as she playing the role of the naïve housewife, so to speak. 

Or stated alternatively, she is willing to endure all of the annoyances and disappointments of her married life in hope that she and her spouse will reclaim the love which inspired them to tie the knot in the first place.

IV

But on the other side of the coin, “it’s coming around again” reads a lot like the famous saying that goes ‘what goes around comes around’, as in being an allusion to karma. Or delving even deeper what the singer may be asserting, all things considered, is that even if she and her husband do break up, she believes that she will find another true love. 

And this conclusion, once again, is largely based on the story arc of the character Carly Simon is portraying.

At first yes, she does play the dumb housewife if you will, as in forgiving all of her husband’s transgressions even while she is heavily burdened with house/family chores. 

She does, once again in a cynical manner, state that she’s okay with it all despite being overwhelmed by the stress of her marriage. But underneath is this sentiment that if he’s “willing to play the game”, as in keep making the same mistakes (i.e. cheating on her), then at the end of the day, he’s going to lose. 

For instance, it can be reasonably argued it’s “coming around again” points to him being on the verge of suffering through another failed marriage, a calamity that he has already gone through once. Or, as is really the main point being argued in this paragraph, what the singer may be expressing is a confidence that ‘love is coming around again’ for herself, even if she decides to leave her husband. 

And this theory is further supported by what Carly Simon was going through in her personal life at the time, which more or less reads as a direct reflection of this theory.

Conclusion

But with all of that being noted, understanding the primary sentiment behind this song doesn’t require one being versed in Heartburn or the love life of Carly Simon. Nor does the ambiguity of the titular phrase take away from the main issue at hand. And that is the singer being frustrated with her family life. To a lesser degree, the general stresses of motherhood and maintaining a home are bothering her. But more so is a husband who is not as vested in supporting a happy home as she is.

Facts about “Coming Around Again”

Carly Simon actually wrote this tune to serve as the theme song to a movie entitled Heartburn (1986) starring Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep. And with its official release date being 12 October 1986, it also served the role of lead single from HER 13th-studio album, itself entitled “Coming Around Again” (1987).  Thus by the time the album had come out, the single had already proven to be a hit.

This hit broke the top 20 of the Billboard Hot 100 and Top 10 of the UK Singles Chart. And overall it earned the distinction of charting in 10 nations globally.

Alongside this song Carly also put together another track, her rendition of the nursery rhyme “Itsy Bitsy Spider”, to be used in the aforementioned movie. And it is also featured on her above-noted album and is based on the same musical arrangement as “Coming Around Again” (the song).

The producers of this track are as follows:

  • Bill Payne
  • Russ Kunkel
  • George Massenburg

In addition to the aforementioned flick, this song has been used on the popular soap opera “General Hospital”. It was also used on another famous soap titled “The Bold and the Beautiful”.

Carly Simon penned this tune while at her home in Martha’s Vineyard (Massachusetts).

This song was put out by Arista Records. In fact “Coming Around Again” was Carly Simon’s first album under Arista.  Transitioning to said label marked a resurgence in her career, as head honcho Clive Davis and co. were more dedicated to supporting her artistry. Indeed this project proved influential enough to warrant a 30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition being issued in 1987.

The music video to this track features actual footage from Carly Simon’s early childhood.

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