An interesting theory expounded to me by the rather wonderful N-La while we were avoiding being hugged and/or ostracised by leather-shorted men at Pride the other week - it is very possible indeed to have a crush on an actual song, rather than its creator. Yes, yes, I nodded. I very much agree with that, I insisted. That's because I have gone a bit further recently. Not just a crush, but a full-blown love affair with a whole album.
And here will follow an extended metaphor so tortured that the USA has denied it even existed and immediately flown it to sit inside a shipping crate on an airbase in Siberia for the next 30 years. If you do not wish to witness this extraordinary word rendition, please click away immediately. Look: here's some sausage dogs pissing about.
It began, as all good love affairs do, with 6 Music. Because I'm so hip and now and with it, I totally listen to 6 Music when I'm doing the washing up, and sometimes I don't even pointlessly squeeze closed my eyes and loudly hum old Ben Folds Five during four out of five songs they play. So I'd seen this song around. It was called Final Form, and it had an endearing little hook to it. A flirty way with the bassline. Bit of a melancholic angel sheen. Whatever, I thought. There's a lot of those types about, all nice harmonies and interesting nuances, I thought. No, I'm not hoping that it'll be played again, I thought. I don't have time in my life to learn about a new band, especially one as syllable-heavy as Everything Everything. God, by the time I've said their name, I could have boshed three Elbow tracks and had a nice cup of tea.
Ah, but then...but then there was Glastonbury. And let's face it, some crazy shit happens at Glastonbury. Especially when I'm there, which I wasn't. I was sat in a booth in West London for three days, watching the peerless if I may say so thank you very much BBC coverage of all things musical and glittery-spiritual-wank, and putting incorrect words in Beyonce's mouth, as is my want. And there they were in the BBC2 Saturday running order. Everything Everything, two unknown songs. Better give them a bit of a cursory research then...
45 minutes later, I emerged from a YouTube fest, breathless with lust. MY KZ UR BF, Photoshop Handsome, Suffragette Suffragette, Final Form, and repeat, and repeat... I was all over it. I could barely wait to get it home and go all the way with every one of the 12 tracks. I sat impatiently jiggling for hours while Coldplay farted and tooted their way through several million dirges. You were all yellow, they belmed, but all that was playing through my mind was "Brother, you look like the Taj Mahal..." And then finally, finally, the time had come; myself and the album Man Alive were, as the coy coyly say, as one. I'll admit, money changed hands. Ian Apple (© Herring) was as brutal and frustrating a pimp as that bastard always is.
So then came the first week - it couldn't keep its grubby little paws off my ears, as I listened on repeat to the whole album, two or three times a day. It made me laugh ("Are you guys together, honey? But now I can't find his torso...I guess you're separated") and it made me think deep, staring interestingly into middle distance on tube trains thoughts ("I awoke in the future, I had turned to stone with fear") and we shared our little jokes at the expense of others (Yeah, sweetness. I know when you're saying face, and when you're saying fence. They don't know. I do) It was, as all love affairs are at first, disgraceful, disgusting and downright doolally. Who the fuck even listens to an album more than once a day? What was I, some kind of teenage ball of scrunched-up angst and woe, carving band logos into my forearms with blunt compasses, thinking these songs were actually talking to me?
Well, sort of. And this had really never happened to me before. Albums ALWAYS have a skip-it-skip-it track. Albums NEVER revolve and twist and reveal facets on the 15th listen which means your favourite track is a moveable feast. It was blind infatuation, as sudden and overpowering as a concrete block dropped off a motorway bridge. Ridiculous as a space-hopper in a cathedral. Inexplicable as the phrase "ratings-winner Peter Andre". Not with a person or persons who wrote a song, but with the bloody songs themselves. Ridiculous: but true.
We're into the comfortable phase of companionship now, me and Man Alive, where we can just co-exist quite happily with it being the background music to my daily life without me having to passionately stare into its lyrical eyes all the time, and I can start to flirt with my iPod shuffle again. And I know it will come to pass, Man Alive will outgrow me - finally get the success it deserves, get a Mercury nomination, get some proper broadsheet attention - and the little idiosyncrasies that are currently adorable will start to grate. Why are you so impossible to sing along to? Why won't you tell me what would happen if the summer was over us in bursts? Who's that girl you're emailing with your Qwerty Finger, you terrible bastard?!
And as Man Alive keeps telling me, it knows how this all ends, it knows how it ends, it knows how it all...
But meanwhile - I continue to be besotted. Great songs. Yup. Beautiful songs. No idea who those blokes at the top of the page are. That one on the right's quite fit, inn'he?
Oh. Ah. OK. Never mind.
Update: this was all written on planes coming to and from the beautiful Italian paradise of Lake Como, where I stood in a deluge for three days, but more on that later. Between arriving home and publishing, I have discovered that a) EE have been deservedly nominated for the Mercury and b) I have actually won tickets to go and see them, live, in a tiny venue, tonight. Quite how I'm going to deal with this given my above emotion-puke remains to be seen. Well, no, this is exactly what's going to happen - I'm going to go into the 100 Club and I'm going to stand near, but not at, the front and stare lovingly at the lead Mr Everything (on the right up top) and he will not notice. Then I will go home. And of such moments a whole life is constructed. I'll attempt to report back later...