I am sure many people consider Bette Midler’s “The Rose” to be just another easy listening standby, just another harmless and brainless ode to love with lyrics full of cliches piled on top of each other. They may have a point. After all, the song basically compares love to a rose, which isn’t exactly the most original simile ever. However, may I re-direct you attention to the part where love is also called a razor that leaves your soul to bleed? Hmm, not exactly a sentiment often found on most adult contemporary stations, is it? The thing that makes “The Rose” great and not merely easy listening good is that it doesn’t flinch away from the dark side of love even as it celebrates the bright, shiny parts. Adding to this underlying grit is Bette Midler’s voice. Bette leaves no doubt that she’s no dopey-brained crooner; she’s a woman who’s accompanied Love to hell and back. So when she tells us that in spite of it all, she still believes in this razor, this river, this seed, this rose that is love, she empowers not only herself but also us.