There is a song—a love song that has touched several hundred thousand audiences’ hearts; it expresses the overflowing feelings of a woman who used to live in her intense true love. “The Way We Were,” by Alan Bergman, Marilyn Bergman, and Marvin Hamlisch illustrates the innermost emotions and regret of a middle-aged woman when she reflects on the youth which she had gone through. This song has a light beat and slow tempo forming delightful sensations for the listeners, but it also leaves audiences a profound message to think about.
Sophisticated audiences may find themselves in the song. It brings out fervor, especially for people who have been living in love. Marilyn Bergman uses simple words, but it is very touching and emotive. Basically, it is a classical song which was played by symphony orchestras and performed by Barbra Streisand. By just looking at the lyrics, one would feel the sentimental soul and an introspective mind of a sensitive woman. In the first line of the song, she writes “Memories, light the corners of my mind. Misty watercolor memories of the way we were. These memories have been engraved in her heart; they are neither gloomy nor euphoric, but they are vivid images which she wants to repress in the most innermost sphere of her mind. It is not just something very hurtful; it is not blissful to think of either. Her feeling is a mixture of nostalgia, melancholy, and a little bit of regret that is rushing through her body. Former familiar scenes were depicted in her mind, but, somehow, they are both painted with watercolor and blurred, symbolizing a mystical ethereal world that solely exists in her imagination and belongs to her only.
Near the middle of the song she wonders, “If we had the chance to do it all again. Tell me would we? Could we? ” She already knows her former love would never come back again; the melody sounds like she is missing and regretting her loss of love. The term “Would we? Could we? ” is deliberately sung slowly and softly as mumbling is also a way to convey her thoughts. Despite her haunting regret, she prefers keeping that regret to making up her love again because she knows wistful moments and romantic longings that she has right now wouldn’t exist if her love remained today.
It is such an uncanny feeling and an agonizing struggle between the logic and the sentiment of a human being. The last couple lines expose changes in her mood, “Memories may be beautiful and yet what’s too painful to remember. We simply choose to forget, so it’s the laughter we will remember whenever we remember the way we were. ” She used to live in love with both happiness and bitterness, but she had to learn how to forget unpleasant experiences to keep the most exquisite feelings inside herself. Does she “simply” choose to forget? It is not something easy to do.
The way Barbra Streisand sings shows internal struggling when she decides to get rid of mental pains. The word “laughter” here is not simply something funny and delightful to laugh at; it is also a pang of remorse and regret about the love and the youth that are gone from her life. Marilyn Bergman used simple words to describe emotion of the woman in this song, so it is quite easy for listeners to apprehend the meaning; however, its melody and the way Barbra Streisand performs it, the most essential factor, helps the song convey the message to audiences .
The intended stress in every single word of her lyrics is absolutely touching. For example, the word “smiles” in the second line was purposely lengthened to give a hint to the audiences so that they can comprehend the whole significance of the song. It is a beautiful song evoking diverse memories for listeners. Each listener will feel and interpret the song in different ways depending on their character and their personal experiences. However, one thing for sure is that these audiences will feel more appreciative of people around them so that they will not be regretful later on.