Sunday, October 20, 2019

Certain Songs #1660: The Psychedelic Furs – “We Love You” | Medialoper

Album: The Psychedelic Furs
Year: 1980

. . .

Not to be confused with the Rolling Stones song of the same name (you know, their post-incarceration single that featured John Lennon & Paul McCartney), the utterly masterful “We Love You” has at least one thing in common with its namesake: you’re never sure how seriously to take the sentiment.

It’s possible that Mick Jagger — who’d narrowly avoided a long prison sentence, after all — was feeling vulnerable enough to believe that he truly loved his audience, but then again, he also needed Lennon & McCartney (and that piano riff from Nicky Hopkins) to actually get it across. That said: “We Love You” remains one of the peaks of The Stones psychedelic period, which we’ll hopefully get to next year.

I’m in love with Catholics
I’m in love with your blue cars
I’m in love with the words that scream
We are so stupid, we all dream

As the centerpiece of an album where he calls everybody “stupid” — including the opening verse of this song — you might be inclined to assume that it’s all sarcastic, but I also think that Richard Butler was too smart for that, so pretty much every single line is open to interpretation: mine is that anything that mentions music is sincere, anything that mentions society isn’t.

I’m in love with Frank Sinatra
Fly me to the moon
I’m in love with fools like you
I’m in love with doing the twist

I’m in love with the bodies that scream
They fall so far, they fall so far
I’m in love with The Supremes
Oh, baby love

“We Love You” starts out with a scream of “Oooooooh, weeee loooooovvvv youuuuuu”, over which drummer Vince Ely is laying down the most solid of beats, bassist Tim Butler right up the middle, while guitarists Roger Morris & Tim Ashton have staked out their territories in each speaker, leaving saxist Duncan Kilburn room to roam. And boy, does he ever, echoing and contrasting Butler as he continues the litany of things he both loves and “loves.”

I’m in love with Sophia Loren
I’m in love with Bridget Bardot
I’m in love with the whole dumb scene
I’m so in love, you know what I mean

I’m in love with Althea and Donna
All that shit that goes uptown top ranking

And while I could never quite make out what he was singing — thank you internet for explaining Althea & Donna to me — it didn’t even matter, because of Duncan Kilburn.

You see, it’s at this point where Kilburn plays the greatest sax riff ever. Or at least in a punk-influenced song. It’s incredibly simple: just some notes tumbling over each other, but it has blown me away every single time I’ve ever heard it, reaching for the fucking stratosphere and — with Ashton’s guitar adding support — exploding into the night. It remains one of the most thrilling unexpected pieces of music I’ve ever heard in my life.

And it breaks “We Love You” right in half: everybody else is so thrilled by it, they all drop out for a time except for Vince Ely & Tim Butler, who rumble together for a bit until Ely breaks the tension with a drum roll and Butler starts in again. But it’s not quite the same.

I’m in love with the Factory
I’m in love with the BBC
I’m in love with your TV
They’re so in love with you and me

And now he starts duetting with himself.

(I’m in love with) A nuclear bomb it falls
(I’m in love with) Shopping city dreams
(I’m in love with) Real men
(I’m in love with) They go through the air for oxygen
(I’m in love with) Love is just a car like you
(I’m in love with) That turns so blue and turns so blue
(I’m in love with) No blue cars will run my world
(I’m in love with) No playboys will black my word
(I’m in love with) I would walk a million smiles
(I’m in love with) For one of your miles Bob

I’m probably wrong “Bob,” of course, has to be Dylan, who was clearly an influence in terms of both irony & distance, as well as cramming as many words as possible into a song, and now “We Love You” is getting just crazier and crazier, as Butler just starts alternating “stop, stop, stop, stop” and “I’m with love with” until Kilburn reaches back down from the sky with a reprise of his protean sax riff, and as both Ashton and Morris’s guitars start talking to each other, Butler is back with the kicker, ending his song the only way he possibly could.

We love you
We love you
We love you
We love you
We love you
We love you
We love you
We love you

And with that, “We Love You” comes crashing to halt.

Now, reader, I loved a lot of songs on The Psychedelic Furs, but “We Love You” was head and shoulders above all of the rest of them. It was the song I’d play for people, the song I would put on mix tapes, the song I would listen to constantly, trying to get to the bottom of. Just a brutal, brilliant, beautiful piece of work that I’m in love with.

“We Love You”

The Certain Songs Database
A filterable, searchable & sortable somewhat up to date database with links to every “Certain Song” post I’ve ever written.

Check it out!

Certain Songs Spotify playlist
(It’s recommended that you listen to this on Spotify as their embed only has 200 songs.)

Support “Certain Songs” with a donation on Patreon
Go to my Patreon page


No comments: