On first listen, Stevie Wonder’s “Ordinary Pain” might resemble two songs joined together by a brief transition, but indeed it is one song.
The first two and a half minutes speak of the quiet heartbreak of unrequited love.
When by the phone
In vain you sit
You very soon in your mind realize that it's not just
An ordinary pain in your heart
But with its extended ending, which starts at 2:43, the song suddenly changes singers and perspective. In the album credits, the main vocal part, sung by Shirley Brewer, is labeled “reply.” The musical vibe, which shifts to a nastier grind, and words she sings recasts the first part of the song from tender heartbreak to laughable naiveté.
You're just a masochistic fool
Because you knew my love was cruel
You never listened when they said
Don't let that girl go to your head
This unexpected ending suggests where the fantasies of a spurned lover can go.
Thank you for reading.