“The Book of Love” (The Monotones)

Our collective love life appears to be determined and bracketed–bound between the covers of a book. It’s just the same old story, really, and we’re all a terrible, sad cliché. Who wrote us, and is the author “someone from above” us? Where is the missing or hidden ur-text, so that we might read it? And finally, “why” is it this book “true” (why am I subject to it)? Seeking answers, by song’s end the sextet peruse the book and forecast that their romances will end happily, as all things must, for lovers, in the genre of the romance. (Breakups are merely plot points in Chapter Four—difficulties to be overcome for purposes of readerly pleasure.) This conventionally happy news, however, cannot cover over the fact that the “who” and “why” questions remain fundamentally unanswered, and that our fate is to remain embedded as type. Let’s assume, then, that no one wrote “The Book of Love,” and for no good reason. And let’s register the dead-stop/single-drumbeat signature in the chorus as a sign of reading interrupted, a break in the question, a Zen-like whack to the skull with a massive tome. C’thunk.


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“Hey Joe Where Are You Going” (Surfaris)

The first recording of “Hey Joe,” and perhaps the most undecided since Joe really can’t make the decision (to seek out his estranged lover, to murder her, or to escape the inevitable lynching). “I guess” riddles the track, and the only place to escape is to “where all those men are free” (and not the “Mexico” of later versions). Like the confused authorship/copyright, no lineage, no endpoint, but only a question of who holds/does the deed.

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