Can’t Win for Losin’ – Lyric Video

Words and Music by Conrad Askland (ASCAP). “Can’t Win for Losing” © 1995 Conrad Askland.

I wrote this song back in 1994 after returning from a 14 week tour of South Korea (and Japan). During the tour we spent most of our time in Tongduchon, South Korea (Hello Camp Casey!) and played different military bases 6 nights a week to entertain the troops. The band was a Southern Rock band called “The Hardriders” that was playing U.S. military bases for MWR (Morale, Welfare and Recreation). Every night we played a different base, sometimes with two hour bus rides each way. It was a tough tour.

During that tour the nuclear threat escalation between North Korea and South Korea was at a peak. We were told that our location in Tongduchon, in the case of a North Korea attack, would be overrun within minutes.

One night the base we were located at, Camp Casey, started a massive late night drill. Sirens were blaring and tanks were rolling all around me. Being a civilian, I had no idea it was a drill so I thought an attack was imminent.

When I called back home there was a real disconnect, a total disinterest in anything I might be experiencing. The response was a feigned smile and “We’re sure everything will be okay.”

When I got home after the tour, then I understood why. Life had gone on for the people back home while I was on tour. I had vanished from their lives and conversations and they had moved on. After just 14 weeks I was returning to the snapshot of a life that had been for me before. But in that time back home some people had died, new friendships were formed with people I didn’t know and my personal relationship had moved on as well.

That’s when I finished this song. A feeling of being alone, things not working and feeling lost as to how to fix any of it.

When you’re feeling low, the last thing you want to hear is: “Smile, everything will be ok.” Sometimes you just don’t want to smile. And that’s where the lyric comes in: “And tell me why I got to smile, when happy is the last thing that I am.”

In true blues form, the darkness of these lyrics have always picked up my spirits. It makes me remember that it’s okay to fully feel what your current emotions are. And it’s also a reminder of the eternal truth: “This too shall pass…”

I originally envisioned a Travis Tritt type male focal for this song. I love the female vocals on this song. The lyric “why I got to be more than just a woman” was originally “why i got to be more than just a man”. I think “more than just a man” flows better and has a better feel to it. Somehow “more than just a woman” feels a little pejorative towards woman. But, that’s the lyric if a female sings the song. It’s always interesting to me how the small nuances of lyrics yield very different sub-texts depending on our upbringing and cultural background.

LYRICS

If this had been a real life
I would have been told what to do
And if it’s just a test
Why do I feel like such a fool?

Well the only thing that I’ve learned
Is that I don’t know everything
The only thing I know for sure
Is I don’t have much room to complain

Well they tell me to look on the bright side
And wait for what is meant to be
But if it’s all the same
When you can’t win for losin’
You just don’t even want to play the game

Now why won’t you tell me
Why I got to be more than just a woman (man)
And tell me why I got to smile
When happy is the last thing that I am

Well they tell me to look on the bright side
And wait for what is meant to be
But if it’s all the same
When you can’t win for losin’
You just don’t even want to play the game

When you can’t win for losin’
You just don’t even want to play the game

2 thoughts on “Can’t Win for Losin’ – Lyric Video

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.