Okay, I’ve been thinking about this for a while.
Mother Mother never disappoints me with the level of complexity of their songs. The eleventh song on their newest Album, The Sticks, is a song called “Love it Dissipates”. I remember hearing this song and immensely enjoying it the first time I heard it. It’s one of those love songs where the speaker compares his lover to something and then compares himself to a complementary item. It was pretty straightforward, and yet within these parameters, the song has a depth that other comparison love songs don’t.
Take, for example, the song “All I want is You” by Barry Louis Polisar. This song is incredibly straightforward with how much the speaker in this song longs to care for his ‘bride’.
If you were a river in the mountains tall,
The rumble of your water would be my call.
If you were the winter, I know I’d be the snow
Just as long as you were with me, when the cold winds blow.
All I want is you, will you be my bride
Take me by the hand and stand by my side
All I want is you, will you stay with me?
Hold me in your arms and sway me like the sea.
What he expresses here in this song is the romanticized version of a relationship. I mean, why wouldn’t you romanticize love? It’s romantic, after all. The simplicity and child-like optimism of this song is meant to make the listener feel positive. It definitely succeeds! Personally, it makes me imagine holding a lover in my arms and looking up to the sky. It gives me the hope that there will be no problems. Sometimes we need songs like this. Sometimes it’s songs like this that bring a smile to our face and hope to our hearts.
Mother Mother, however, has never been purely about hope. What I enjoy about Mother Mother is their unique way of interpreting reality. They take every day feelings, put them to poetry and twist them up in melody.
Their song, “Love it Dissipates”, does just that. It parodies songs like “All I Want Is You” and others like it. It doesn’t mock them, but it uses their style to bring across an opposing message. Mother Mother does this elegantly.
Notice the similarities, not only in the type of lyric, but in the acoustic nature of the instrumental accompanying.
If you were a country, I’d be your flag
If you were a smoke, I’d be your drag
And if you were a junkie, I’d be your fix
If you were a critic, I’d be your pick
I mean what I say when I say I’d be your anything, baby
If you were a picture, I’d be your frame
If you were the wounded, I’d be your pain
The song begins in a generally positive manner, the speaker would be anything for their lover. Later on, he mentions that he would be everything for his lover, and we are given a taste just what everything truly means. People often claim that their lover means everything to them. Everything includes pain and heartache. Everything includes the cells for the convicts, the kill for the guns, the pills for the party.
Mother Mother explores the other side of the word “Everything” when it comes to love, and they do so in an elegant manner.
Not just the Lyrics, of course, but the music helps to bring out their point. It’s sung slowly, thoughtfully. To me, the speaker seems nostalgic. The sound of glasses being stacked in the background, the echo of the voices and the guitar make it seem like a lonely, empty bar. This was obviously intentional. The love that was being described was personal, and they wouldn’t want to sing that in front of a huge crowd. The speaker is in a small, empty bar, half-whispering about the death of the relationship.
Perhaps the empty bar is what his soul feels like after this relationship. Maybe he feels like he is filled with alcohol and devoid of people. He’s alone with the silence and emptiness and numbing agents. This song is meant to make you feel empty, and it succeeds in doing so.
Both of these songs are good, in their own respects. Though they are similar, they serve different purposes and speak to different audiences. Love it Dissipates is not a song for a smiling couple. All I Want Is You is not meant to be a break-up song. It seems that “Love it Dissipates” is a sequel to “All I Want Is You”. “All I Want Is You” believes in forever. “Love it Dissipates” proves that forever may not always exist. Love could have been there once before, but it dissolved. It’s gone. Forever is a myth.
I mean what I say. When I say.
Love, it dissipates.