Sparkle and Shine is the most beautiful love song ever. No one can write them like Steve Earle. Really, this man may be one of outlaw country's grumpiest rebel children, but when the man decides to write a love song, holy fucking shit! Simple and pretty, but oh boy what he says when he says it.
I'm a grumpy fuddy-duddy when it comes to love and romance; most sappy shit makes me kind of want to puke. Most of it is obnoxious and more manufactured and fakey-flakey undigestable than Peeps, and I feel like it is sort of fanciful showboating. All the saccarine sentiment is theatrical: acting out and pantomiming love or some facsimile thereof for the sake of having that thing we are all supposed to want. All the supposed-to-be's and crap like that which people check off in a little notebook to see if they are lovey-dovey enough is enough to make you want to shit on a wedding cake.
Point being, sappy though I may be, I'm selective about my sappiness. The curmudgeon in me wants to just hate all love songs and such, but there is that certain tone that can be hit just right that is the only kind of love to ever tolerate being around for even a moment; it is that kind of love where no matter how you fight it or how grumpy you may be there is this other person that turns things upside down. I don't think every love story should follow a happily ever after trajectory, I just want that sentiment of helpless disarm caused by this other person who for whatever reason, in whatever way sends you haywire. I like sloppy love and the ridiculous and of course the tragic when the love is so there that the tragedy is completely lost in the love part (think Richard Thompson's "1952 Vincent Black Lightning" or Robert Earl Keen, Jr.'s "Billy Grey") or the fleeting but indelible ( Steve Earle's "Galway Gal").
"Sparkle and Shine" isn't so complicated. It is such simple enthusiasm and such a magnificent celebration of another person. It just describes the way this person makes him feel and looking out of his eyes at this vision, at this illumination brightening up his life, you can't help but feel this little swell of joy and peace, the quiet simmering ecstacy that you can only feel in those moments when you can still viscerally remember and feel that dizzy way another person can make you feel. That wasn't meant to mean just post coital feelings. The song does enough to explain it. "My baby sparkle and shine..." Ok, a little goofy, but if ever there was something I wanted someone to think about me or a way I want someone to make me feel, this song describes it.