I haven’t written many love songs over the years. There are some great ones and a lot more mediocre ones already out there. The ones I have written may not be great, but they’re different.
We begin with “Jungian Love Song” (2009, from Terms and Conditions), which celebrates my love for my wife Caroline. The “dorm” where we lived was not in college but at Pendle Hill, the Quaker adult study center where we met in 1994. Of course, any of my songs, including love songs, is going to be rife with ironic twists and theological perspectives. I’m not against heart-felt expressions of healthy emotion, but it’s not where song-writing takes me. And how many love songs include a line from “O Little Town of Bethlehem”?
“Aw, Darlin’” (2017, from Man of Irony) is a confession of my emotional inarticulateness. Like many men, I find it difficult to put words to feelings, especially at close range. (Women seem able to go on at length.) I wish I were better at it on a consistent basis. But often all I can utter is something like “Aw, Darlin’.”
“Judy Iscariot” (2014, from The Political Unconscious) is about when love goes awry, when our romantic projections upon each other don’t match reality, when a man or woman “is not exactly what s/he seems.” To quote Forrest Gump, that’s all I have to say about that.
“Draped Across My Mind” (2015, from The Political Unconscious) is about lost love. I wrote and recorded it before I read Freud’s theory of grief and melancholy. He suggested that the image of the lost love-object falls like a shadow upon the psyche, and that the ego is formed in part by lost love-objects. In the last verse, the song shifts from the singular woman to the collective feminine of Jerusalem, as grieved by the Jewish exiles in Babylon (Psalm 138).
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