Friday, September 3, 2010

The Love Song's Embrace

My friend and colleague Chuck put on my desk a copy of this lecture about love songs that Nick Cave gave in Vienna. I particularly liked this passage:

In his brilliant lecture entitled "The Theory and Function of Duende" Federico Garcia Lorca attempts to shed some light on the eerie and inexplicable sadness that lives in the heart of certain works of art. "All that has dark sound has duende," he says, "that mysterious power that everyone feels but no philosopher can explain." In contemporary rock music, the area in which I operate, music seems less inclined to have in its soul, restless and quivering, the sadness that Lorca talks about. Excitement, often; anger, sometimes: but true sadness, rarely. Bob Dylan has always had it. Leonard Cohen deals specifically in it. It pursues Van Morrison like a black dog and though he tries to, he cannot escape it. Tom Waits and Neil Young can summon it.... but all in all it would appear that duende is too fragile to survive the brutality of technology and the ever increasing acceleration of the music industry. Perhaps there is just no money in sadness, no dollars in duende. Sadness or duende needs space to breathe. Melancholy hates haste and floats in silence. It must be handled with care.

All love songs must contain
duende. For the love song is never truly happy. It must first embrace the potential for pain.

1 comment:

Rich said...

Lucinda Williams--plenty of real sadness there: "Sweet Old World," "World without Tears," "Still I Long for Your Kiss," "Words Fell."