Versions: Bonnie Raitt’s I Can’t Make You Love Me

Sometimes I feel like the weather dictates what I like to listen to.

It’s pretty dark outside, with ominous clouds holding back an eventual torrential downpour. It’s the perfect day to stay inside and just  let the pattering of the rain lull you into a relaxing disposition.

Yes, I am that kind of person. I’ve once been an introvert and there are moments when it comes back and I’ve never felt more in-tune to myself and enjoy the time compared to being in a roomful of people whom you’ll only meet once, exchange a couple of smiles and then that’s it.

It might also come out as surprise and would even knock those who knew me for my hard-rockin’ music preferences off their feet to know that I do listen to slow tempo music (I’d rather not call them love songs. It sounds less cheesy this way). But there are moments when I feel like tender, gentle tunes are called for. 

Therefore, when I heard Bonnie Raitt’s “I Can’t Make You Love Me” once again while going through folders upon folders of music in my hard drive, I guess I had an intense compulsion to listen to it over and over again. Then, I remembered hearing Bon Iver having a his own cover version of this intensely touching song as well as Adele.

With my not-so-nimble fingers, I set out finding those versions and viola! Here they are.

Here are three versions of “I Can’t Make You Love Me” . First is by the wonderful Bonnie Raitt , who recorded the original version of this song and is included in her 1991 album Luck of the Draw. Second is a cover version done by the undeniably artistic Bon Iver, which he made into a medley with another Bonnie Raitt song “Nick of Time”. Last is another cover version that is done by the lovely Adele.

Please click on the image to watch/hear the tracks.

bonnie raitt i can't make you love me

bon iver i can't make you love me

Adele i can't make you love me

Maybe there are those who consider this as a strange love/break-up song. Since it’s all been established that I’m weird, whenever I listen to this record, instead of feeling sad, it soothes me. It’s empowering. It’s message is very clear that if you are truly in-touch with yourself and love yourself, you wouldn’t change even a single iota of your being just to make someone love you, pretending that your someone you obviously are not. And . . . it’s better to be alone that end up with someone who will put you on a pedestal and suck the joy of being in a “supposed to be” loving relationship.

Whew! Why am I even talking such mushy sentimentality? It’s totally out of character.

Which one is better? I think each version has its own charm; it’s just a matter of preference.


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