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Til Tuesday – Have Mercy lyrics

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    A song I have enjoyed since I heard it on the other side of an apartment door one day in about 1988.

    Here's how I imagine the song:

    :He made me feel so second-best
    :I never should have let him do it
    :But when he makes his pretty mess
    :Somehow you just fall into it

    A woman is looking back on a failed relationship. This guy never put her first in his life or put her needs
    above his, and she sees now that it was a mistake to get involved. But, he knew how to push her buttons
    by needing her to fix his problems and playing on her sympathy (and perhaps her need to "save" him).

    :He wasn't just another touch
    :He was something I created
    :And though I loved him much too much
    :I never thought my love was wasted

    The guy wasn't simply a way to pass the time; he (or maybe the relationship that he represented)
    became all-important in her mind, her "creation". She saw the beautiful parts and not the many
    shadows. She sees now that she put much more emotional commitment toward him than he
    deserved, but at the time she would have felt it was all worth the effort; things would get better
    and he would come around to being in reality what she imagined.

    (Maybe she came to realize that her love was wasted on him based on the last verse...)

    :How do you know who you should blame?
    :You spend your love or, you conserve it
    :It's hard to hear him curse my name
    :At least I know I don't deserve it

    Here the woman is being philosophical. Do you blame the one who hurt you, or do you blame
    yourself for allowing that to happen (especially if the warning signs were there)? Yet, people have
    a capacity for love, and a choice has to be made to spend it on someone and risk the chance of
    pain or hold it back and never feel the joy of being in love. The last two lines suggest that she
    finally gave up and realized that things would never get better, and after all that she did for as long
    as she could this is his thanks--him bad-mouthing her. Perhaps he left a nasty message on a friend's
    answering machine, and the friend played it back so she heard her name being cursed.

    Finally, the chorus:

    :Have mercy on him
    :The love that I gave him is gone
    :Have mercy on him
    :The love that I saved for him is gone

    The woman is asking in general that fate have mercy on him because she is done trying to fix
    his pretty messes and see him as something he never could be. (For example, finding out that he
    had lied about other women would do it as a last straw.) There's nothing left of her love that
    she gave him and kept safe from the world in the form of friends trying to reason with her and,
    maybe, the attentions of other men.

    That's my take.
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