My Valentine’s Day this year was a double date with BBC Radio Bristol and my gorgeous new guitar. People get so hyped up that day. Giving flowers and chocolates is evocative of love, but it’s mostly about desire, which is a different thing. There are so many things about Valentine’s Day that look like love until you get a little closer and realise they just aren’t.
It’s the same with song lyrics. Think about how often we use “need” and “love” interchangeably, when they’re just not the same. The Decemberists, who I saw in Bristol this week, have a big chorus that goes, “I wanted you, I needed you, to make me better,” and it feels like an anthem for dependency, not love. Colin Meloy is no linguistic slouch, so that’s probably exactly what he meant. Saying “I need you” when you feel too weak to cope alone can be cathartic. At the very least, it’s honest. But sometimes lazy songwriters use it as a substitute for “I love you” because they don’t see or care about the difference, and that screws up our perceptions of what love and relationships are supposed to be.
As I said on the radio, love isn’t the only thing we’re allowed to write about. We could stop defining ourselves by our relationship status, learn to love ourselves and remember we can write songs about literally ANYTHING. I remember my friend Claire, who does spoken word poetry, was once struggling to write, so she wrote about struggling to write. It was one of her best poems.
There’s nothing wrong with talking about love of course, and if you’re in the middle of a breakup you can hardly help it. That’s what Ghostess was for me. An urgency, an emergency, and it really helped me move on. Breakups are massively rubbish, but can be an excellent chance to grow. You might even get a decent song out of the experience.
#Ghostess Instagram Competition
I’ve been using Instagram a lot recently. You can find my profile here – instagram.com/jakemorley. It feels good to share more personal things using pictures. How about a Ghostess photo competition?
So here’s your challenge, Instagrammers: share a photo that answers the following question:
What helped you move on from a breakup?
There are no rules about what your photos should be of, so be creative – a place, a person, a thing, something artistic, hold up a sign, anything that comes to mind. Tag your photos with #ghostess – I’ll pick my favourite and the winner will get a free download of the song before anyone else. Sound alright? Do it now! Deadline of…. Monday 2nd March.
Here’s mine to get us started, but don’t worry – I won’t pick myself as the winner.