One-Hit Wonderment #2

Teddy Geiger – For You I Will (Confidence)

I’m a dedicated Spotify user, but it isn’t without its issues. Certainly, a lot of artists are screwed by the payment model, but artists being abused by the industry side of “music industry” is hardly a new phenomenon. More bothersome to me personally (yes, because that’s what counts) are the murky dealings that lead to songs entering and exiting the massive database of available tracks. Sometimes they might have a prolific artist’s entire catalogue (Van Morrison comes to mind) but for an album or two. Or a song you love might just show up one day on a playlist when it wasn’t there before (“Flagpole Sitta” by Harvey Danger, which I had been actively seeking on a regular basis). Or, in the case of Teddy Geiger’s “For You I Will (Confidence)”, a song I had on two of my own playlist creations, you might not even notice it’s gone until you go looking for it.

I have no recall of how the song came into my life, only that it caught my attention and never really lost it. On my old iPod is a version downloaded from LimeWire that differs from the single, and which I prefer. I love this song so much that I put it forward in 2011 to my fiancé as one of the possibilities for our first dance together as husband and wife. We ended up going with Ben Folds’ “The Luckiest” (I could do a whole series on what Folds’ music has meant to my life), Steve Earle’s “Valentine’s Day” found a place somewhere in the festivities, and “Linus and Lucy” marked our exit. I’ve never been to a wedding with cooler ceremony music than my own.

Geiger was something of a teen idol but there was a secret under this: Geiger had long known she was really female in a male body. She came out as trans in 2017, and carries on her life now as Teresa while still being Teddy in her career, releasing music as recently as October 2021. It’s also a bit of a cheat to call Geiger a one-hit wonder, since she has moved heavily into writing and production, working with such acts as One Direction, Maroon 5 and, most notably, Shawn Mendes, with the hits “Stitches”, “Mercy” (my two favourite Mendes tunes), and many others.

There’s no easy way to explain why the song still gets me in the feels. It’s about taking a risk for a chance at love, about diving in and having faith that everything will work out. I love the sort of echoey and bubbly feel with the slightly tinny guitars during the intro. I love how the verses suddenly explode with pent up emotion then drop low again before a colossal drum run into the chorus. I love the break after the second verse where Geiger states things she would do to get the girl’s attention. I love the way she sings “But I’ve got to try” in the last chorus. I love that a pop song uses the word “muster”. (That can’t be too common, right?) I love the romantic belief that everything will work out fine if you just commit

The music video is a classic of teen movie cliches. Shots of Geiger looking with longing at her dream girl – Kristin Cavallari of “Laguna Beach” fame – intertwined with Kristin’s obviously douchey and unworthy boyfriend (who reminds me of Derek, Justin Long’s competition for the love of Julie Gonzalo in “Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story”) are intercut with Geiger in her home recording studio. It moves then to a pool party where Geiger takes that leap of faith she’s been singing about and gets to kiss the girl (bewildered Derek stands by with his red Solo cup, the universal label of young male douchery), who wakes up on a couch in that home studio, smiling at Geiger as she puts the finishing touches on the song she just wrote about them coming together as a couple.

Yes, it sounds cheesy, but I’ve never thought that meant something had to be bad: cheese as a food is as good as it gets! Sometimes we think things are cheesy because they’re too familiar, too direct, too emotional. But maybe that just makes them universal, too: most of us have known that feeling of wanting to be with someone who doesn’t see us that way. I listened to this song a lot in late 2007 and early 2008 as my world was falling apart and I felt completely unloved, and again later in 2008 when life was rapidly becoming better than I had ever thought possible. Maybe that’s why it still hits me hard even now: it feels like my own story was being told, that I was the one cannonballing into the water.

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