I've stated before in this blog how I'm not really into gooey romance and grand gestures (see my Valentine's Day post); I honestly find them quite mortifying. I'm also certain that I've never been in love, and most of the passing infatuations I've had in life have been with people I would never actually meet. Dysfunctional perhaps. Maybe a bit autistic. However, after finally watching Before Sunset, which was the sequel to one of my favourite films Before Sunrise, I realized that love and romance could be done in art in a truly effective and affective way. I fell in love with the characters and their relationship (which was shot nearly in real time in the first film and then all in real time in the sequel) as much as the characters themselves fell in love. The bulk of both films is natural dialogue in which the characters reveal themselves to each other in idiosyncratic speech and hypocritical logic, but what really gets me is the sense of reality and honesty they both have about love and romance and their own flaws, trying to convince themselves that they would likely fall out of love if they spent more than that one day together. Before Sunrise has an open ending that leaves the audience wondering and imagining if the two characters ever fulfill their rash promise to meet up again in Vienna in six months. I was so moved by the first film that I held off on seeing the sequel for fear it would kill the beauty and potential of the first. Now that I've seen the sequel and have been confronted with yet another open ending, I still have that great bittersweet sense that the first film left me with. Like Ethan Hawke's character says in Before Sunset, if you believe the lovers get together, you're a romantic, and if you believe they don't, then you're a cynic. Simple as that. Brilliant filmmaking.
This realistic, but no less romantic, love story on film prompted me to see if I could find enough songs that expressed love for this weekly mix - I wanted to find songs that didn't do love in a hackneyed way, nor lust in a crass way. Love and lust and all other forms of attraction or relationships have been done to death in music. In fact, most pop tunes are love songs of some sort. I reckon love and lust and the fact they don't always accompany each other are a considerable part of human experience, and this is why these themes appear in every artform. It's the classic case of the dissonance between what people want and need, between dream and reality. And perhaps the need to make something more mythical about attraction and elevate the human experience also contributes to the plethora of expressions about love - hyperbole and all.
I tried to craft a mix that would reflect the multiple permutations and facets of this experience: the bumbling stupidity that love can plunge the most intelligent people into (Billy Bragg's The Saturday Boy, Elvis Costello's Alison); the all-consuming desire that can mingle with pain and drive one to darker extremes (Interpol's No I in Threesome, Placebo's Protege Moi, Sneaker Pimps' M'aidez); the confusion between friends and lovers and the uncertainty over what constitutes love and its consequences (Bernard Butler's Friends & Lovers, Club 8's Baby, I'm Not Sure If This is Love); the longing and regret when one errs and loses love (The Cure's Pictures of You, David Bowie's Letter to Hermione, Jeff Buckley's Lover, You Should Have Come Over); and the excitement, recklessness and novelty of an emotional connection (Lloyd Cole and the Commotions' Forest Fire, Orange Juice's L.O.V.E.). Love is more complex than I Wanna Hold Your Hand and Be My Baby. I tried for honesty and originality without completely giving over to cynicism. Maybe I'm a romantic after all. I'm going to call this one My Kingdom For a Kiss on the Shoulder.
I Would Die 4 U - Prince
Protege Moi - Placebo
No I in Threesome - Interpol
M'aidez (Acoustic Version) - Sneaker Pimps
Pictures of You - The Cure
Forest Fire - Lloyd Cole and the Commotions
L.O.V.E. - Orange Juice
Friends & Lovers - Bernard Butler
The Saturday Boy - Billy Bragg
Letter to Hermione - David Bowie
Alison - Elvis Costello
Fistful of Love (featuring Lou Reed) - Antony & the Johnsons
Foolish Love - Rufus Wainwright
Lover, You Should Have Come Over - Jeff Buckley
The Man With the Child in His Eyes - Kate Bush
Baby, I'm Not Sure This is Love - Club 8
Heart - Stars
Beyond Love - The The
You're the Conversation (I'm the Game)- Chris Corner and Sue Denim