Friday, January 6
The Mountain Goats - Love Love Love
Allow me for a moment, as Tobias Funke would say, to take off my normal free-minded light-hearted blogger skirt and put on my contemplative, analytical pants. (If you don't watch Arrested Development don't even try to make sense of that). I realize most of you would rather not read long song anaylsis's, so don't worry, tomorrow I'll go back to my regular care-free posting.
Thanks to You Ain't No Picasso, I've recently been introduced to the song "Love Love Love" by The Mountain Goats (download here). I haven't had a song thats moved me this profoundly since Sufjan's "John Wayne Gacy, Jr." The usage of Old Testament imagery reminds me of Leonard Cohen's oft-covered "Hallelujah"(download Jeff Buckley's version here). Sadly, I think the message of this song flies by alot of people, so I'll try to explain what I think it means. You can choose to agree or disagree, and comment if you'd like.
"Love Love Love" starts out with short vignettes of actions that seem nothing like love. King Saul's suicide, Joseph's brothers selling him into slavery, Sonny Liston cheating in the boxing ring. While none of these are intently done out of love, they all lead to love. King Saul was Israel's first king and his suicide led to the crowning of David (which ultimately leads to the birth of Jesus). After Joseph was sold into slavery, as anyone who's seen the Technicolor Dreamcoat broadway production could tell you, Joseph becomes the chief advisor in Egypt and saves the entire Jewish and Egyptian peoples from starvation. While not as noticeable sign of love, you could argue that Liston's cheating evenutally led to his downfall by the hand of Mohammed Ali, who inspired many people through his actions. Find out where all of this is going after the jump...
The next verse is about a literary character from Crime and Punishment named Raskalnikov. Though I have not read the story, I am familiar enough with it to know that it is about a man who feels like he could be justified in killing someone, because of his humanistic belief that he is a superman, but is overcome with extreme guilt afterwards. His murder creates a schism between the rest of mankind and himself, and is only redeemed when he accepts grace and begins to love.
The next verse talks about love leading us by the hand into a white and soundless place (which I think could be any unforseen place in the future). Then the lyric quotes 1 Corinthians 13 (which is interestingly enough called the Love Chapter of the Bible) saying, "now we see this, as in a mirror dimly, then we shall see each other face to face. " The mirror represents how puzzled we are at earthly occurences, but the verse points out in the future we will have perfect knowledge of these occurences.
John Darnielle said in an interview that we think that love is a controllable force, but it is really something that's wild, and can be seen in all things. He says that love even showed itself through abhorrent things like his stepfather, who abused him terribly, (full quote here) or through suicide (such as the untimely death of a certain rock legend). The song is about fate, and about how even in the horrible things that happen there is a force of love in the world, whatever we believe that force to be. It also gives the hope that someday we'll understand what this force is and know why we went through those hard times on earth. A very moving message, I believe, and one that's fitting for recent tragic occurences in the world. Continue Reading The Mountain Goats - Love Love Love...
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