Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Love Will Tear Us Apart, by Joy Division

Traditionally, love songs don't sound like this. Love stories don't sound like this. We know how they're supposed to go; romantic comedies from Jane Austen to Bridget Jones and everything in between reflect the common perception - they lovestruck couple overcome obstacles and misunderstandings, and the story ends when they get together, or (even better) get married. No-one tells us what happens next - the assumption is that, if they're right for one another, it'll work out, as if by magic.

When the routine bites hard, and ambitions are low

And resentment rides high, but emotions won't grow

This song tells us otherwise - a life with the person you love does not always turn out the way you thought it would. It is about the slow and painful demise of a marriage, a bitter and resentful meditation on the end of a great love.

Why is the bedroom so cold?, you turned away on your side

Is my timing that flawed?, our respect run so dry?

Not much happens throughout - there is no great betrayal and no angry denouement. But this is the strength of the song, it illuminates the pain caused by a gradual growing apart rather than the sting of a sudden break-up.

Yet there's still this appeal, that we've kept through our lives

Worse still, it reminds us that there will always be something between the two lovers regardless of water under the bridge; no-one gets out of love with a clean slate.


ira said...

I want to thank you for this post. I was trying to convey the words for a play a specific scene of the play that I'm writing, but they didn't come naturally.
You finally said it right. Thank you.

Ernesto said...

I love the feeling of visiting the blog and finding out that someone else wrote about a song I would have liked to post about.

Funny, how across the miles and coming from different cultures and all one single song can make us share so many things.

I would have said something very, very similar about this song. Cheers.

Small Ball of Anger said...

Thanks, to you both.

I think this (like Ring of Fire) is a song everyone can relate to, because it's so honest.