TLC's Waterfalls on World AIDS Day 2018

Because today is World AIDS Day I want to highlight TLC's song, Waterfalls. Too often pop music is written off as irrelevant. This song is so well written. There is no mention of HIV in the second verse, but the rhyme scheme suggests it anyway:

"...but he just can't see / ...baby it's good to me"

I'm not sure if it's common knowledge that Waterfalls second verse is about HIV. I've loved this song since it first came out. I assume everyone knows the words and sings along whether they want to or not. But last year, I was listening to it after TLC's newest record came out and Waterfalls shook me. The last line of the second verse undoes me, "His health is fading and he doesn't know why / three letters took him to his final resting place."

Meshell Ndegeocello does a great cover of Waterfalls on her new album, Ventriloquism, that highlights the realities behind each of the verses. Her subtle changes in lyrics are also potent, especially, "May we all find peace in our final resting place." 

It wasn't that long ago that a positive diagnosis equaled a miserable death sentence. And God willing it might not be that much longer until cures and vaccines are available.