December 13, 2017

Love Is Dead

Another song (the eighth one so far) from that 1998 Seattle show I've been posting bit by bit. Why? Well, why does anyone do anything? I think it's an interesting, and unusually clear and distinct, "snapshot" of the way it was during a period a lot of people are interested in. Plus, I want people to get used to going to my fledgling youtube channel because I plan to post more stuff there in the coming year..

So.... Why is the song "Love Is Dead" not on the album Love Is Dead? The song was already mostly written when we were mapping out the album, but not recorded in those sessions. The album was "officially" untitled during the recording, though the notebook I had all my lyrics in did have "NAME: Dr. Frank / SUBJECT: Love is Dead!" scrawled on the cover (which I discovered and was surprised by a few years ago when I stumbled on it.) I think I probably didn't want to commit to the title prematurely, just in case something better came along, though obviously it didn't.

Anyway, the title had clearly been kicking around in my head, and when that happens a song often results. Leaving the "title track" of the previous album for the following record is a fun gimmick to connect the two that some of my idols have done (Robyn Hitchcock, Elvis Costello) and when it did come to organizing what came to be Revenge Is Sweet and So Are You it was like joining a kind of tradition. But at the time, it was just kind of random, the result of everything being tentative and chaotic. As was the case with the song that contained the line that named that album -- "I Was Losing You All Along" -- which wasn't on its album because we didn't finish recording it; and as with the song from whose lyrics Yesterday Rules was drawn, which may well be on the next MTX album, should there be one. These things happen.

For what it's worth, I do think this song would have weakened the Love Is Dead album by being too prominent as a "title track." It's better that the theme is danced around, so to speak, and not literally spelled out, and that's the case with lots of things. Which certainly makes it easier on those of us who aren't all that good at spelling things out. I've been asked about this a lot and I usually say something like "it's just one of those things," which is true as well.

As for the song itself, it's a pretty good essay at that Tin Pan Alley approach to lyrics and structure that I've sometimes stabbed at. The bridge is particularly ridiculous (meaning good), illustrating the initial vague notion of "emotional vertigo" with subsequent climbing of what turns out to be a tree, one of the limbs of which the narrator is "out on" etc. I love it when you can take things too far, to the point of stupidity, and somehow it simulates brilliance as long as your words are nice. Or so I like to think.

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Posted by Dr. Frank at December 13, 2017 08:11 PM