During their short-lived life as a band, Savage Garden were not exactly regarded as songwriters of the highest order. Catchy hooks aside, their albums really did take a commercially formulaic approach with lyrics that were of a bland sort.
As a result, two of their ballads turned out to be their two biggest hit songs. While Truly, Madly, Deeply came out of the gates first, it was I Knew I Loved You (IKILY) that ended up becoming the standard at weddings, Valentine's Day, and karaoke bars.
Written as a tribute to wife of lead singer Darren Hayes1, the song's melody is inescapably smooth despite its simplicity. In fact, it would have all gone down quite well if it wasn't for the cookie-cutter lyrics. I suppose it had to be expected, considering the title, but it really does take the song down several notches.
Nevertheless, it did send many hearts fluttering and, to this day, it remains a guilty pleasure of mine. And it is solely because of this fact that I present to you my story about it...
Two years ago, I made the mistake of joining a group of friends at a karaoke bar. Having already been properly lubricated, my judgement (or lack thereof) really did get the best of me that night and I happily acquiesced to the majority's decision.
After ordering another round of rye and gingers, we proceeded to review the catalogue of songs. Jewels such as I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For, I'm On Fire, and even House of the Rising Sun were selected and performed by various members of our group to general indifference from the other patrons that night. Even an attempt at a rousing rendition of Higher Ground didn't quite make a splash with any members of the audience.
My turn came around and given the rather quiet reaction throughout, I figured a ballad was in order. As I flipped through the list, I crossed out numerous ones (Angie - too much anguish, Thank You - couldn't quite channel the Plant that night, Moon River - no thanks). Sure enough, I came upon IKILY and decided "forgettable song for a forgettable night - I might as well".
As I started the song quietly but assuredly, I paid no attention to my surroundings, save for the viewscreen that scrolled the lyrics along with some requisite cheesy video montage. I even managed to hit all of the falsetto notes nicely and ripped right through the song very nicely.
As the last notes faded away into digital oblivion, I looked up and was caught by surprise at the sight of about a dozen couples slow-dancing on the floor in front of me. One couple even came up to me and asked if I would be kind enough to perform the song at their wedding.2 I turned to the DJ behind me and whispered "WTF?"
His response? "I guess you've forgotten what day it is today."
1 - They've divorced since then. I guess it wasn't such a hit at home after all.
2 - No, I did not accept.