Jim chose to write about, “Heartbreak Hotel,” which is full of, well, heartbreak. When I went to lyrics.com and put hotel in the search box, it came back with 6,263 songs with lyrics containing hotel. That doesn’t even include motel.
Why is it that motels/hotels are so often sung about as these dwelling places of impropriety, sadness, etc.? Songs like this one, House of the Rising Sun, Hotel California, Chris Isaak’s Blue Hotel, Gordon Lightfoot’s The No Hotel, Misfits’ Horror Hotel, Dirt Nasty’s Motel Room are often hubs of extreme emotion that most often are the kind that will get a person into trouble. Lust is probably #1, and lust with someone other than your partner amplifies it, but there are so many more emotions associated with them.
Besides heartbreak and cheating, there’s loneliness, extreme boredom, excitement (if you’re on vacation), fun (after hours if you’re out of town for a training), fear (if you’re running away from someone), and anxiety (if you’re headed home and it’s not a place you want to go.)
Trying to think of something that elicits the same kind of intense feelings, it struck me that alcohol is similar. Both hotels and alcohol take you away from yourself. Both could be a place to escape something unpleasant at home.
Hotels are also a prime location for prostitution and sex trafficking. Remember that the next time you rent a room and forget your black light. They are well-known as locations for suicides and murders as well. They don’t have a 13th floor in hotels because of superstition for those who believe that the number 13 is unlucky.
Looking at all of the reasons for being in a hotel, I guess heartbreak is one of the tamer ones.
Jim Adams is the dedicated host of Mindlovemisery Menagerie’s Music Challenges.