Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Great Dilemmas in Love & Popular Music

Popular music has the power to bring people together to fight famine and the economic decline of the American farmer, to tear down racial barriers, and in the case of Redhead Kingpin & The FBI's Do The Right Thing encourage us to act as moral agents in the exercise of our free-will and wear turquoise pants. All fine things, and while popular music can control the raging torrents of political sentiment and our sartorial choices, just what is the extent of popular music's power? Does popular music have the power to heal still-fresh wounds? Can, for example, a song bring back a baby? I put the question to two thoughtful Montreal friends of mine, both possessing great wisdom in the matters of the heart and popular music: Marion Elissalde, photographer, ukulele player, graphic designer & wit; and Michelle Fritzi Adelman, art-history graduate, freelance writer/photographer/stylist and member of now disbanded art-pop group Bold Saber.

"Baby, come back!" "Baby, come back!"

Hypothetically, you are dating either Eddy Grant, lead singer of the Equals, or Peter Beckett, lead singer of 70s soft rock sensations Player. Something happened, and the relationship soured. In a desperate attempt to win back your love and to express deep regrets at the way things were, as well as the longing & unhappiness in their souls, they have turned to the power of song.

Relationship Status: Over

Peter Beckett has been hitting the town, trying to forget you, but it's not working. Let's say that you've been separated for a period of at least three weeks, if not longer. Given Beckett's admission of wrong-doing, his declaration of love, and his "false bravado," are you prepared to take Peter Beckett back? Why?

Michelle: In the span of three weeks, I would have by now realized that he did me the biggest favour of my life by breaking up with me. Besides, i know what happens when heartbroken men roam the streets. Do I really want a guy back who never really loved me and took me for granted, who now reeks of booze, is coming down off nightly black diamond runs of ant hills of cocaine, and prolly picked up an STI or two on some of those particularly lonely nights. Baby's never comin' back. Sorry.

Marion: Nope. Don't think I would take him back. The guy does me wrong, then goes out and sluts it around town "trying to forget" me? And it take weeks for him to "put it all together" and realize that he "just can't live without me?" I mean it may take a lot for a man to say "you can blame it all on me" but it sounds like he's just feeling lonely and wants someone warm in his bed. Ambivalent love's not my kind of love...

The Equals Baby Come Back
Relationship Status: It's a fresh wound

Eddy Grant admits that he was flirting, that he was mistaken, but after proclaiming his love, he wants a second chance. Are you ready to return to the arms of Eddy Grant of the Equals? Why?

Michelle: How could I not return his arms? He's not begging, or whining about his "false bravado" he's admitting he was wrong, and now demanding I come back. Besides, he was only flirting, right? Second chance Granted. I don't like reggae, I love it.

Marion: Much more forgivable. Everyone flirts from time to time, even if they're in a relationship with someone else... it's harmless fun most of the time. The important thing is that he knows whom he truly loves and immediately recognizes his mistake and apologizes. He begs for forgiveness stating that "his love is true" and I'd want to believe him. If it turned into a regular thing I might have to reconsider, but for now he get his "second chance".

Which way to the Barbarella casting call?

So, there you have it, Player's Peter Beckett has to return to the miserable, solitary life, getting under some women to get over a woman, by luring them with the costume he was photographed in above from his days in Skyband, while straight-forward Eddy Grant of The Equals scores big and goes on to a successful solo career without his trademark blonde wig.

As the "inspiration" (putting it politely) to Player's Baby Come Back, the Hall & Oates song She's Gone is by far the more mature and soulful of the two, as well as lyrically and sonically sophisticated. In it, our heartbroken lover(s) adopts a stoic attitude towards that recognizes the reality of the situation, the pain of separation, and is far more inward looking than pleading.

No comments: