Saturday, November 24, 2007

Stars Week Still -- Personal

The week long examination of one of Canada's best, and most underrated bands continues! The first day, I looked at their most famous song, the second I looked at a great old one, and today, I look at a great little ditty off of their most recent album, In Our Bedroom After the War. I'm happy to present you with another unofficial video, followed by the lyrics. Warning, this song is not for the faint at heart.

Single f, under 33, must enjoy the sun, must enjoy the sea
[Sought by single m:] Mrs.Destiny, send photo to address, is it you and me?

[Reply to single m:]
My name is Caroline cell phone number here, call if you have the time
28 and bored, grieving over loss, sorry to be heavy but heavy is the cost, heavy is the cost

[Reply to Caroline:]
Thanks so much for response, these things can be scary
Not always what you want
How about a drink? The St.Jude club at noon?
I'll phone you first I guess
I hope I see you soon!

I never got your name, I assume you're 33
Your voice it sounded kind
I hope that you like me
When you see my face, I hope that you don't laugh
I'm not a film-star beauty
I sent a photograph
I hope that you don't laugh...

[Note to single m:]
Why did you not show up?
I waited for an hour and finally gave up
I thought once that I saw you, I thought that you saw me
I guess we'll never meet now
It wasn't meant to be
I was sure that you saw me, but it wasn't meant to be

single f, under 33, must enjoy the sun, must enjoy the sea
Sought by single m:
nothing too heavy, send photo to address
is it you?
or me?

Lyrics courtesy of

In my previous two entries, I discussed the dichotomies contained in each of the two songs, "Your Ex-Lover is Dead" is part somber, part empowering, while "Heart" is part forgiving, and part settling. Well today I break that pattern. This song is just sad.

Personal adds either in newspapers or on-line have always intrigued me. I must say, that I have never used that service, but I know plenty of people who have, many of which will swear by it. Whenever someone mentions that they met someone on the internet through any sort of dating service there are always a few who snicker behind their back and talk about how "pathetic" it is and how they "couldn't find anyone better". I personally don't care, love is a strange thing and finds people in strange places, be they real or cyber.

While the song doesn't specifically state that the two are meeting on-line, it seems obvious given the ease in which Caroline can send "Single m" a picture, and given the nature of our society, if it is not on-line, it doesn't make a huge difference to the storyline. The two characters agree to meet in person after seeing one another's adds. While the obvious sad stories and concerns that people have about this sort of thing revolve around the other person being creepy and/or dangerous.

However, in true Stars fashion, this song looks at it from a different dimension, and as usual there are multiple ways to look at it.

The obvious one is from Caroline's point of view. She is nervous and scared, since she is "grieving over loss", and so she sends a picture to "Single m". However, she is clearly very insecure that he may not find her attractive, and so she shows up to meet him but he never comes. She is convinced that she saw him at one point, although there is no mention that she ever got a picture of him, or else perhaps she would have said more than "Your voice it sounded kind".

Whether Caroline saw him or not, her story is a sad one. She puts herself out there and gets rejected, never an easy story. Now Caroline, clearly has some other issues with her self-confidence and has more than likely had some relationship troubles before ("grieving over loss" yet again), and so being rejected, will no doubt make these issues even worse. It doesn't matter why "Single m" did not show up, in some part of her mind it will be because she is either unattractive or just not that interesting.

Now on the side we have "Single m" and any potential for his tragedy. After my initial listen to this song I was convinced that he was someone who tried to pick girls up on the internet all time, and took advantage of poor Caroline. However, upon repeated listening and reflection I think that there is a chance for a deeper character than that.

While the song follows Caroline's anxieties, it is entirely possible that he felt the same way. Single m specifically says "these things can be scary". So maybe, just maybe, he was too scared to meet up with Caroline, and so he backed out of it all. This would explain the repetition of his personal ad at the end. He was scared, ducked out and decided to repost and try again.

I realize that the second thought is far less likely, but there is still that certain ambiguity in the song. In the first two I looked at it was emotional ambiguity, now this time it is a lack of clarity in the story itself.

While this is often frustrating, in the context of this song (and the others) it adds a whole other dimension to the plot, leaving things for you to pick up each time you listen to it. Now that is of course a heavy contrast from the majority of music out there, which is so simple and to the point that you really only need to listen to it once to understand it. Illustrating the point once more that Stars are among the best bands out there right now, their songs have depth, which seems so simple, yet, as the music industry shows us every day is so hard to get.

Until next time,


1 comment:

James said...

I think it's significant that his personal ad changes slightly at the end of the song from the beginning.

It goes from "Is it you AND me?" to "Is it you OR me?"

Just thought I'd throw that in there.