It was recently announced that one of my favorite artists Peter Doherty is coming out with a new solo album this fall. As I took in this wonderful fact, it felt natural to listen to one of my favorites by him. As the melody hit my ears, I wondered about my favorite love songs, and how all of them have one thing in common: a happy ending. All of them except this one.
"Broken Love Song" by title, appears to be one of those melancholic songs you listen to while looking out your bay window at the rain. It has all the elements you're looking for: minor notes, lyrics that seem to be coming out of your sallow mind, driving drums that simulate your anxiety. It's the perfect concoction for someone dealing with extreme loneliness. In an interview a while ago, when some journalist asked Peter if he was happy, he famously replied, "Just listen to the songs mate, listen to what I'm singing. Do I sound like a happy fucking person to you?" It's easier to put this kind of extreme loneliness out there through a song, rather than saying it out loud. Hell, I'm guilty of the same thing. The video speaks really loudly to me, and as I sit in a cafe surrounded by people...I've never felt more alone. Transitioning from a lifetime of friends and parties to this solitary vibe has been difficult. But songs like this make it easier to explain where I'm coming from. "And every morning / I'll be singing like a caged bird who might say, / John, Paul, George and Ringo help to pass the hours away." Sometimes music is the only thing you have, and when the hours feel like years its the only form of recourse. It's loneliness explained.
As Valentine's day approaches, and some of us have dates and parties to look forward to, there are others who will be passing time in their rooms: they'll be listening to music to take up the time, or creating works of art to try and make some permanence. They'll call their loved ones who are far away just to say "hi". They'll reconnect with old friends for fear of never making a new one. Loneliness encompasses them like a cage. It's not good. It's not bad. It just is. And as the clocks continue to tick, swinging off the walls as if they themselves were live, things just might seem alright. Not every moment feels this way, and yes there are times where joining together with others makes everything irrelevant, but more often than not, these Broken Love Songs keep us warm when nobody else can.