[People often ask me about the title of my book Polyamorous Love Song. The following is a short excerpt from the final chapter in which I explain it:]
Around that time I was thinking a great deal about pop
music. I had the idea that most already existing love songs,
mainstream or otherwise, were directed towards one person,
the ultimate soulmate or new excitement, and maybe a polyamorous
love song, a love song directed towards a few (or
many) soulmates, might undermine some basic songwriting
assumptions. I dreamed of these not-yet-existing love songs,
wondering what they would actually sound like, who might
write them and who might listen.
Pop music is the gasoline of monogamy. Love songs are
propaganda for monogamy. Writing is another form of loneliness.
These are all statements that feel relatively true, that feel
true in their gestures of empty, highly personal, provocation.
Statements whose truth-value is little more than an opening
for debate. Songwriting is a strange kind of writing. I remember
something I once heard Darren Hayman (from the band
Hefner) say in an interview, that people often complimented
him on his lyrics, and he was flattered by this, but he had always
been more interested in writing tunes. Because a song could
have bad lyrics and a great melody and still be a good song.
But if a song had great lyrics and a terrible melody, the entire
endeavour was kind of doomed. How would we experience love
if pop culture did not exist?
Love songs attempt to describe how we feel when we’re in
love. But as they’re describing, they are also telling us how we
should feel, creating norms we can compare to our own experiences,
giving us language that helps us describe a realm of
emotion that in some sense is always beyond language. Many
of these songs are written in about five minutes and yet we can
listen to them over and over again for years. Love songs are
about desire, but they are also, often, about loyalty. In some
ways romantic love is the passage from desire towards loyalty.
But maybe the polyamorous love songs that I dream might
some day exist will complicate such dualities, generating
nuances closer to our daily reality in which, if we are open to
life, conflicting thoughts, questions and desires continuously