It’s everyone’s favourite Hallmark holiday today, and you know what that means — time for a gooey song about holding hands and learning to understand while wearing a single leather glove and opening an umbrella to shield yourself from some stuff that’s falling from above.
I’ve kind of had my fill of love songs. Given how little there is left to say that hasn’t already been said on the subject, I thought I might provide a useful service to the world by writing a one-size-fits-all love song so no one else would ever have to write another uninspired variation on the theme.
This was one of the last things slated for inclusion on YEAR OF THE SLEEPWALK to find itself on the chopping block. It’s one of my favourite songs that didn’t make it onto the album. I felt like I never quite got the arrangement right, I wanted to take another crack at singing it, and in the end time constraints kept it from finding a place on either disc.
I dumped it back onto the mixer this afternoon because I thought it would be a fun thing to polish off and share on the day before Half-Price Chocolate Day. I was a little surprised to find I liked the arrangement just fine after some time away from it and didn’t feel I could do a whole lot to improve on the existing vocal take. The mix is a bit of a quickie job, and I’ll probably fine-tune it a little, but it feels good enough to share.
Turn the lights down low, pour yourself a glass of onion juice, and let the love in.
This is an overwrought love song
written for someone who doesn’t exist,
given a name and attributes
broad enough to allow you to project
the likeness of just about anyone
and whatever feelings you have for them
onto this uninspired canvas so you can tell yourself
the words were written just for you.
Well, if this song were a small town,
it would have a population of a hundred and nine,
and all of the people who lived there
would dream up poetic ways to pass the time,
like finding a name for a fragrance impossible to articulate.
And that’s the smell of the person you love,
whoever they may be.
Maybe you’d call it deceptive.
Maybe you’d say it was something sweet
with the breath of menace inside it —
a metaphor for something you weren’t wise enough
to recognize when it might have done you some good.
And now the song has grown bitter.
But you’re bitter too, so it’s nothing offensive or jarring.
Now this is the part where a new melody
is introduced to keep you engaged.
The setting has changed but your clothes are the same.
There’s a lazy trope you can hang your hat on.
The music conveys a hint of regret,
but it hasn’t collapsed into self-pity yet.
That’s another song for another time.
You won’t find it here.
It’s not one of mine.
And here’s where a key change would happen
if I cared enough to engage in histrionics
common to the artistic vernacular,
employed in moments such as these,
but this is an overwrought love song
written for an idealized, nonexistent subject,
and if they were real a last-minute key change
wouldn’t appeal to their sensibilities.
So fuck all that.
This wasn’t really a love song, was it?