My Favorite Love Song.

February 14, 2013 at 1:55 pm (Uncategorized)

album-hate-your-friends

When you think about love songs, chances are you’re thinking about songs that create a mood.  Al Green, or Marvin Gaye, maybe.  Roxy Music’s Avalon album has always been good for “results” in my experience, to get my euphemism on.  If you want to get adventurous, I’ve always thought the prettier, less-clangy moments of My Bloody Valentine are fairly sexy.  With that said, none of those artists or their songs are my favorite love song.  In fact, my favorite song about love has almost nothing to do with creating a mood.  It’s a trebly, fuzzed out, punk rock song by a group that would get famous years after the guy who wrote and sang this song left the band.

The song is called “Ever”, and it’s one of the earliest songs that The Lemonheads ever recorded.  It hails back to their nascent days as a punk rock band, and instead of Lemonheads mainstay Evan Dando being the feature, on this track it’s founding member Ben Deily who both wrote the song and sings it.  Deily left the Lemonheads within a year or two of this song, leaving the band with just Dando as a songwriter.  Back in those days, the band were punks in every meaning of the term.  They were young, brash, snotty, somewhat goofy dudes.  They covered the Patsy Cline song “Strange” on a lark.  They did the same with “Luka”.  By any reckoning, they seemed like guys who were happy to not care about anything.  (Above you’ll see the cover of the album “Ever” first appeared on, and it gives a good feel for the exuberant, pissy irreverence of the early Lemonheads.)

That’s what informs the song “Ever” and makes it so special to me.  Here’s a song by a bunch of bratty kids, and it’s played loud and fast, and you’re thinking you know how this is gonna go…

…and then Ben Deily’s plaintive, begging, nasal vocals come in on the first verse.  “We hit the highway in the shimmer glare of summer”.

That’s the first line of the song.  Go read that line again.  Now, I may not be much of a writer myself, but I know good writing when I see it.  That line, folks, is a line that songwriters across the spectrum of pop music for the past five decades would have loved to have written.  That one line, gorgeous, evocative, so perfect; you can feel the temperature of the day, smell the ashtray in the car, see the wavy lines of heat coming off the distant pavement, and see a young couple with their lives stretched out ahead of them, taking a trip.  Somewhere.

Thing of it is, if that first line was all “Ever” had going for it, it would be an outstanding bit of songwriting.  Deily manages to top that in the second verse, after a line about washing dishes together in the “curtain drifting twilight”.  I mean…find me more songwriters who are capable of  a phrase like “curtain drifting twilight”, will you?  I want to discover them.  As if that wasn’t enough, when the song turns for home, the final verse and chorus are naked statements of love so innocent and pure they’ll break your heart.  I hear those lines and I remember the first time I truly tumbled head over heels in love…and it felt like that last verse, with all the hope and excitement chased with confusion and insecurity expressed so brilliantly here.

Here, dig you some “Ever”.

Lyrics:

We hit the highway in the shimmer glare of summer
And past the window all the trees moved by behind her
She tuned the radio ‘til music was around us
A rushing calm around my heart I knew had found us

It feels so good to me
I have to make you see

Why does this ever have to end?
I know commitment is not the trend
Don’t misunderstand what I intend
When I say this doesn’t have to end

We washed the dishes knowing everything was alright
And then together in the curtain drifting twilight
I know your laughter shouldn’t make me feel so scared
How could I doubt you? I know how much you cared

I hear it when you sigh
But I still don’t know why

Why does this ever have to end?
Why can’t I give you my heart and hand?
I think you’re too scared to understand
This doesn’t ever have to end

I see you standing by a window in the hall
Our eyes collide without a single word at all
The record asks: will you still need me when I’m 64?
I can’t imagine that I wouldn’t need you more

Too many tears to cry
I just won’t let it die

This doesn’t ever have to end
Life is so long and my heart won’t mend
You are my lover, you’re my best friend
This doesn’t ever have to end.

It should probably be no surprise at all that when Deily left the Lemonheads, he did so to attend Harvard University, where he graduated cum laude with a degree in English and American Lit.  A brief foray into a film-making career ended up with him writing ad copy; his wiki page mentions he’s won multiple Clio awards for his work.

He also has his own band, called Varsity Drag.  If you go see ’em live and beg enough, occasionally they’ll do “Ever”.

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