Monday, June 29, 2009

Here and Now

At one point, Chris Stamey talked about the joy of marriage and how it’s provided inspiration for his recent songwriting. “This one is dedicated to my wife,” he said before playing “To Be Loved”. Far be it from me to begrudge anyone’s happiness, but I liked it way better when he was broken-hearted and bitter.

Overly sentimental songs make me uncomfortable, especially when I know who it was written for. I’m cool if I just have to imagine some faceless thing that inspired the words or—in the case of everything that falls out of Nick Lowe’s mouth—I just assume he’s singing to me.

I have friends who can’t watch The Office because the awkwardness is too unsettling. That’s how I feel about sincere love songs. Overt displays of emotion always leave me embarrassed, like I’ve just overheard a conversation that wasn’t meant for me.

I rolled that idea around my brain during “Early in the Morning”—the song [Peter] Holsapple dedicated to the woman wearing his last name—and decided that maybe the problem is less about the words and more about me. Since my own personal life is littered with more wreckage than the infield at a NASCAR race, maybe I just can’t appreciate an album about domestic bliss, about English muffins and marmalade and the same person’s head denting the pillow beside you until forever.

Or maybe I’m just a bitch.

I saw Peter Holsapple and Chris Stamey--formerly one half of jangle pop masters The dB's--on Saturday night at Cat's Cradle. I also wrote an insanely detailed review of the show, which you can read here.

Tomorrow I'll be spending a total of nine hours in the car and, in between breakfast and dinner breaks at the nearest Exxon stations, I'll be riding roller coasters all day at Busch Gardens. Because that's what an unemployed, overdrawn thirty year old does. Also, I really want a funnel cake.


Anonymous said...


Commenting because it said O people love me, and I can't stand that. I love you and so do many others.

Anonymous said...

I guess this means i should assume you won't be xfitting with me tomorrow. Sadface. Have fun and please - eat a funnel cake for me!

Rambling Rachel said...

I love funnel cakes. Unfortunately, you'll have to live through the sugar crash alone.

I just wrote about a service that's supposed to help someone when they're really sick. I hope your adventure tomorrow is more interesting than my brochure copy.

Mike said...

"The Office"
Definantly fake. If it were really someone would have gone postal a long tome ago.

Your Ill-fitting Overcoat said...

Hollah back, Tampa! That's where I grew up! Have fun & don't puke on the rollercoasters if you can help it.

p.s. I find my tolerance of mushy love songs increases dramatically when I'm crushing on someone who appears to be crushing on me back. Just saying-- maybe give that homeless dude another chance?

Brent said...

I know that second-hand embarrassment all too well. If it weren't for crippling emotional limitations I'm sure I'd be able to enjoy sappy music as much as anyone else, but some of it is just ridiculous.

People are much more interesting when they're bitter and heartbroken anyway.

MonsteRawr said...

I'm glad I'm not the only person that squirms while watching The Office.
I think that music tends to amplify what we're already feeling. So if you're madly in love with someone, sappy love songs connect to the deep feelings that you already have. But if your experiences with love are tinged with hurt and regret, then the feelings that the song connects to will be raw and uncomfortable.
Damn, that was deep. Let's talk about funnel cake.

miss. chief said...


los_tartist said...

I as well, love to assume that all the really good songs are about me. My future husband will be determined by how many of the songs on the mix tape he will make for me, are the right songs.

jamesdeanrodehere said...

Uhhhh take me with you to Busch Gardens please!! Lol. Sad songs are a lot easier to find it seems...

Michael said...

Nothing wrong with wanting funnel cake.

On the more serious note, I see what you mean. I am a serious Billy Joel fan, and while all of the man's work appeals to me, the Christie Brinkley "aint my wife cool" phase of his career is infinitely worse than the "god, I am so freakin' lonely/broke/scared/drunk.angry" phase.

Abecedarius Rex said...

I loathe schmalz with a wretching bitterness. "Love is not love that alters when it alteration finds nor bends with the remover to remove." Perhaps it's pure black cynicism, but I hope they're still together in five to ten; ditto with Pam and Jim (sick of them). A good love story (or song) is made better by tension, longing, crisis, or pain. Not b/c true love is bad, but b/c true love makes a bad story (which is what a song is). Even Jane Austen, the paragon of romance writers, doesn't center her stories around the domestic bliss of her espoused couples!!! what rot.
While we linger in this veil of tears, our sorrow finds solace in the seriousness of love, not in the tripe that is only a doppleganger of real love.
John Donne says it all:

by John Donne

He is stark mad, whoever says,
That he hath been in love an hour,
Yet not that love so soon decays,
But that it can ten in less space devour

Try this movie on for size for a romantic gut-wrencher:
The Painted Veil

JerseySjov said...

one of my roommates has a song written about her about how the guy in the band "broke your heart but didnt break your wings, so fly away"
whenever they play it live you just cant make eye contact with anyone.