Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Songs #356 & 357 - It's TWOsday!

Song #356 of 9999                                                   Song #357 of 9999

Title: There is a Light That Never Goes Out              Title: Bizarre Love Triangle
Artist: The Smiths                                                      Artist: New Order
Year: 1986                                                                Year: 1986
Album: The Queen is Dead                                       Album: Brotherhood

I find myself frequently using this space as a confessional. Most of the time, my crimes are small and somewhat embarrassing. They almost always involve progressive rock. A man can't undo his past, I tell you!

It is almost a certainty that I had not heard a single song by The Smiths or New Order in 1986, despite the fact that my girlfriend listened to new wave almost exclusively on her Walkman. She was more of a Duran Duran and Echo and the Bunnymen girl, but I'm sure her rotation included these two records. Meanwhile, I would have considered this music to be "gay" and I was busy listening to Triumph and Zebra. *sigh*

Well anyway, I'm enlightened now! The first time I heard "There is a Light..." was in a little coffeehouse performance by Joseph Arthur not very long ago. His cover was so different than the original—I-IV-V in a major key, super-slow, solo acoustic, very emo. It was quite moving and sent me in search of the original. Upon discovering the Smiths' version, I fell in love all over again. Uptempo sadness is such a fantastic concoction and no-one does it better than Morissey & Co. Two years ago, I chose to play the song with a violist at a wedding for two people who were much hipper than me in the 80s and received the following note in a card: "When two of our friends arrived, they heard The Smiths and said they knew it was going to be a good wedding." :)

"Bizarre Love Triangle" is another song that dares you to take your sadness out to the dance floor. The setting is almost symphonic in its scope: swirling synths and arpeggios that somehow sound dated and fresh at the same time. (I know that doesn't really make sense but can you deny it? I blame The Killers, who sounds just like this to me.) What's the song all about? Not sure—the lyric is not the most important thing going on here—but I will admit I love the last lines of the chorus: I'm waiting for that final moment/You say the words that I can't say. I find those lines to be quite evocative, even as (or maybe because) they are buried by the music.

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