Tuesday Tune Two-Fer: Soulmate TK

Two songs about lovers to be named at some point in the future

I’m not back on my Dirty Projectors bullshit; I’m still on it.

This week the prompt is “What is the Time” from the album Lamp Lit Prose. (The live performance from that YouTube link is actually better than the studio version, in my opinion).

That whole album is full of songs about finding new love and coming back from a post-break-up depression. The previous album, Dirty Projectors, is pretty dark, laid bare like a livejournal post and a collection of art-rock diss tracks. The cover is the band’s logo with a shoe print stomping it out. The first track has David Longstreth’s voice artificially pitched down, along with a repeated loop mocking the chorus of “Impregnable Question,” one of their stand-out love songs. It’s not what I’d call subtle.

So I’m fortunate I didn’t fall into fandom until after things had already started going better. “What is the Time” stands out to me because it’s got the lyrics “They say it’s ashes to ashes, passion to passing, and we all will die alone,” but also “The planets align and show me the one I am, I am the one who will love you.” Which I think is pretty spectacular for a love song.

Even if the target of the love song is still to be determined. “What is the time when I can call you by your name?” is a similar sentiment to “I miss you but I haven’t met you yet,” from “I Miss You” by Björk.

One thing I’m realizing by pairing these songs with each other is that I identified a lot more strongly with the sentiment the first time I heard Post, versus the first time I heard Lamp Lit Prose. I still feel my heart flutter at the thought of grand, romantic gestures and declarations of love — I’ve seen too many movies not to. But there’s undoubtedly something solipsistic about it, which I think I didn’t appreciate until I got older.

Declaring “I’ve got so much love to give to the right person” is romantic, sure, but it doesn’t mention the millions of things that make them the right person. That’s where all the real magic happens. There’s a difference between casting for the part of your dream lover, and really falling in love with someone in ways you never could’ve imagined. Otherwise, you’re only ever seeing the other person as a manifestation of yourself, and that’s how you wind up with Solaris.

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