Monday, May 18, 2009

3 of 69: You said you were in love with me/ Both of us know that that's impossible

"All My Little Words"

At the risk of descending too far into the soggy morass of psychology and all those french philosophers of objects and subjects, there is something be said of being in love with someone, but not yet with them. In a ten round title bout, Desire might very well clean Love's clock, especially in the early rounds, and there are plenty of reasons for this, particularly for the
romantically inclined and the imaginative among us. Before declaring your affections, before being recognized, accepted, brushed aside or bluntly rejected, before one actually knows anything of consequence about what will surely be your Great True Love, anything is possible. Your object can be anything you want him or her to be, they are a gigantic projection screen for all your fantasies. And wooing them! The mind revels in an infinite number of possible futures where we are impossibly suave and witty and say all the right things. Where we fully command all our little words. And nobody can possibly resist them.

At first listen, "All My Little Words," seems simple enough. Merritt gives up his vocal reins to another man, one L D Beghtol. Unlike Merritt's famously untrained bellow, Beghtol's voice, to my ears, is a floral, almost histrionic affair, especially when paired with the sparse strumming of the simple accompaniment (strummmm, bdang-dang bdang-dang). It is a voice that seems comfortably at home playing the troubadour at a renaissance fair. And it is sincerely lamenting a failure, of sorts, and if one cursorily examines the lyrics, well, that failure seems like one of courtship. The end result was rejection, this object was 'unboyfriendable.'

Yet "You said you were in love with me/ Both of us know that that's impossible," is as loaded a pair of lines as any song on 69LS. I completely apologize for the perhaps half-baked interpretation that is to follow, but I'm of a mind to say that the "you said you were in love with me" is entirely in the songwriter's saccharine-sweet head. They then follow this up with "both of us know that that's impossible" because they know they'll never get up the courage to ask. Or perhaps they know their lovely object would never go for them for a thousand and one very real life reasons. The fact that someone said yes, even in thier head, while nice in a heady day-dream sort of way, in the end remains just so many little words.

But the "you said you were in love with me" of the first stanza can be read in many different ways, least among them literally. Perhaps they did indeed receive an affirmation, but in that case what went wrong? More to the point, what exactly is the singer really in love with?

One one hand, almost certainly another human being. But on the other hand, I'd argue that on some level Beghtol isn't singing to anyone at all, at least not in the objective sense. His object is "a splendid butterfly," it's most wonderful feature: it's wings (they are what make it beautiful after all). The imagery is both delicate and transformative. It's difficult to think of a butterfly without recalling its extraordinary metamorphosis, and to call out its wings is to specifically latch on to its elusive nature. In my mind, the singer is also describing his desire in the first stanza, a powerful and dramatic emotion that has undergone so many odd transformations and one which might just be narrowing in on it's target. Confused, excited about all the possible outcomes only one thing is certain of desire, no power on earth will ever make it stand still, will "ever make it stay."

This one gets another "adoration" (4 out of 6)
(and apologies for a simultaneously overwrought yet undercooked review. The next one will be better, I promise!)

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At 7:45 AM , Blogger oline said...


At 9:38 AM , Blogger LNE said...

Wow man. I've said it before, and I'll say it again, you could totally be a music critic. It's so hard to describe sounds, but you do it magnificently.

At 9:42 AM , Blogger Les Savy Ferd said...

you guys flatter me. and on what has been a crummy day, I thank you.

At 3:40 PM , Blogger oline said...

i also applaud your bold use of the pink ipod.


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