The Rich Girls Are Weeping

20 April 2006

"Don't you know the name of your lonely...?" or paraphrasing: Am I miserable because I listen to pop music, or do I listen to pop music because I am miserable? (Just don't call me Rob...)

So I was minding my own business, reading my email, when I found a link to a great mini-essay on love by musician/novelist/essayist Daniel Handler (you may know him better as snarky kids' book writer Lemony Snicket) for the amazing Powell's Books in Portland. The first paragraph made me laugh self-consciously, then set me thinking.
What's love, again? No, seriously: what is it? Why are you quoting song lyrics? Do the lyrics of love songs actually cut to the heart of the matter, or are they simply so vague that it feels like they do? Why does one's own love feel as if it cuts to the heart of things, but other people's loves feel like vague amusements? Why are love songs we don't like so noxious? How can we love a song so dearly for a number of years and then suddenly find it embarrassing? Also, a person?
I've been rising like a phoenix (or something) from the smoking rubble of My Hideous First "Adult" Relationship In Which I Acted Like A Child Most Of The Time And As A Bonus, Almost Got Married (tm) for nigh on 8 months now (tempus fugit, goddamn!), and I've bonded with a lot of albums full of moody love songs over the past few months that seem to correspond with the stages of recovery or something. There was my New Order fixation in the fall (um, I'd file that under "acceptance"); I found myself unable to resist the little voices in my head (yeah, yeah) telling me to buy a copy of Kate Bush's Hounds of Love on vinyl the other day, and I've been listening to it incessantly (hopefully this corresponds to some kind of "reconfiguring of identity" or something) ever since.

I'm sure I'm not the first person that's noticed that most pop songs are love songs, really (except, uh, the ones about dancin!). Do you know I exist? Why don't you know I exist? I want you. I really want you. OMG, go away, I so don't want you. Please don't come near me ever again, can't you see how miserable you've made me? Look at me, I am so fucking awesome without you in my life anymore. Et cetera.

That's the name of my lonely (thanks, Jonathan Carroll): My insistence I'm not worthy enough to feel big and beautiful and overwhelming love ever again.

To whit, sorry to re-quote Handler: "Do the lyrics of love songs actually cut to the heart of the matter, or are they simply so vague that it feels like they do?"

Well...? Do you know what I mean? (Thank you, Kate Bush) Some songs just get scratched into our souls...(Thank you, Craig Finn.)

Kate Bush -- The Hounds of Love
Kate Bush -- Running Up That Hill (12" Remix)
The Futureheads -- The Hounds of Love (Phones' Wolves at the Door Remix)

Chet Baker Sextet -- Stella By Starlight (sometimes a love song doesn't need words...)

Changing gears a little bit: The website for the Celia Cruz exhibit at the Smithsonian is amazing.

Goodhodgkins offers tracks from the original version of The Wrens' The Meadowlands, with commentary. "Such A Pretty Lie" would have been included in the tracks above -- but why be redundant? -- go get it from him. And, maybe today is, as he mentions, a wonderful day to revisit that album if you haven't lately. It's still brilliant, I promise. It always will be.

Wanna hear the worst cover ever? You've been warned -- it's Train's utterly bloodless cover of Sugar's "If I Can't Change Your Mind," off their new album, For Me It's You. I heard this during a fruitless shopping trip to Gap the other day, and I thought I'd officially gone mad.

Not to jump on the mp3 blogger bandwagon, or anything, but Beirut, people. This is what happens when the heavy influence of Neutral Milk Hotel's Jeff Mangum is a good thing.

Another new track from Shearwater's Palo Santo is up at the Misra site: "White Waves." Also, the news that the Evangelicals are touring with Get Him Eat Him this summer makes me very, very happy indeed.

Perpetua's on a roll lately. Yet another Fluxblog find has snagged my attention: Persephone's Bees. Big, grandiose pop is always welcome, isn't it?


Anonymous James said...

Bob M, may see some good royalties from that cover (as he has suggested on his blog), so that must count for something. Not any musical enjoyment, but something.

The unaired "try-out" pilot episode of "Buffy The Vampire Slayer" used Bob's "See a Little Light," which was not used in the aired pilot. Given the sales on those box sets, I wonder how much money Bob is not seeing from his song not being used on the show?

Thursday, April 20, 2006 1:36:00 PM  
Blogger Pinkie von Bloom said...

if i had the time and inclination to make my own post, i'd have my list of songs (some of which were purposely included in the youtube post):

TMC - song to the siren
kate bush - hounds of love (as well)
lush - hey, hey helen
ESG - my love for you
piano magic - love & music
roxy - slave to love
the cure - pictures of you
laura nyro - new york tendaberry
big star - blue moon
pale saints - kinky love

for the reading public who bother to read comments, the journeys that cindy and i have had are relatively parallel, resulting in us being BFF, and the fact that the half of the world who doesn't think we're sisters thinks we're a couple. we're neither. but i also left a relationship last year, and have lived on my own for a little over 8 months. i left a 12 year-long relationship and an 8 year-long marriage to a man who started out as my best friend and ended up as a roommate.

and it's interesting that mr. snicket (i'm sorry, i can't call him by his real name...much like i can't refer to other people by their stage you hear that, "har mar?") has spent so much time meditating on this, but that doesn't exactly seem unusual. for myself, music has paced my life. and it's interesting that at my lowest points, the music of my formative years started to sustain me, and that i was led back there by someone who has become very, very important to me (beyond what he could understand right now, so i'll continue to spare him the embarrassment and possibly attendant anxiety). and that's the music that's most important to me now is that same stuff. and occasionally, it make me feel trapped in the past, etc., but i don't think it does, because i'm still able to take myself out of the "teenage feeling" box and appreciate new things that become just as important...hence my neverending (but still relatively longstanding) obsession with piano magic, my acceptance of the national, celebration (guh).

a good lovesong is a good lovesong, but lyrics speak in certain ways. some of it is subject to interpretation, but something else is to be said for the saying of the sayer, else we wouldn't come back to the same artists year after year. but then again if that held true, i'd still have a lot more feeling for the cure & depeche...but then again the needs of the songwriters probably changed there. it wasn't about teenage feeling anymore, and became something more about adult men and their needs. and i guess that seems to be why i'm more attracted to women as songwriters now...there's always been kate bush, but i've got a lot of new interest. i'm not a teenager anymore, but rather a grown woman...which is why kate bush's "washing machine" usually reduces me to tears. blah blah blah.

Thursday, April 20, 2006 1:52:00 PM  
Blogger chacal la chaise said...

ahh, yes. though you wax poetic, you absolutely get now what the heart of the music's aesthetic nature is: emotional aspects you feel as you listen, recall, quote, sing-along-with..., cry to, and dance, yes, dance with yourself or another to those voices plugged into your head. good job.

Thursday, April 20, 2006 2:04:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have you ever read the daily blog Jonathan Carroll keeps on his website? It's astonishing.

Peter Traverson

Thursday, April 20, 2006 3:55:00 PM  
Blogger FiL said...

Oh my, oh dear, Kate Bush. I'm... I'm... oh gosh... I'm at sixes and sevens... Kate... It's been so long, too long... You were my love when I was but a callow youth, but we grew apart... Or rather I grew away... Meeting you here again, well... Oh my, I'm all a-flutter... And now I've gone and thrown my shoes in a lake...


Thursday, April 20, 2006 10:47:00 PM  
Blogger kingseyeland said...

I saw a copy of that Train CD in a used bin and checked the liner notes. Bob Mould is not credited therein.

THAT sucks. That's even worse than Train covering him. I want that band to go away.

Sunday, May 07, 2006 12:53:00 AM  

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