Wednesday, February 11, 2009

"You Don't Love Me" / The Kooks


Okay, so I'm writing about the Kooks again--wanna make something of it? I like this young band, with their cheeky retro BritBeat sensibility. They may have released this song in 2006, but it isn't all bogged down by irony and bogus postmodern lassitude. It's about a guy who's in love, and it's not working out for him, and he's upset about it -- what a refreshing throwback.

I love songs that start in mid-argument: “But you don’t love me the way that / I love you,” he sings, in a mournful mumbly tone (though the jaunty syncopation and thrusting guitar strums save it from sounding mopey or bitter). It's like he's been listening to her go on and on, blah-blah blah, and now finally he's getting a word in edgewise. He already knows that the relationship's doomed, and he's even willing to blame her: “Cause if you did, girl, you would not / Do those things you do.” (I love the two-beat pause between lines, the way it makes you wait for the other shoe to drop.) Going even further, he claims that she does this stuff on purpose, just to toy with his affections: "You kill my heart just to see if /I will rise / Above your anger and / Above your lies." It's like she's the sorority sister of that girl in the Buzzcocks song the other day -- a real bitch on wheels.

And furthermore -- since they're talking about it -- he has another bone to pick, in the bridge: "And all I see of you / Is when you're 'not so busy.'" As the line soars up into his falsetto range, the doubled vocals put this "not so busy" line in quotation marks -- that's what she calls it; but he's not buying it. He comes back in a short punchy line, "Oh, you're not so busy!", his vocals curdling angrily. Do we think she's seeing somebody else behind his back? I bet he does, and I bet she is.

Up to now, this has sounded like a doormat boyfriend finally speaking up for himself. If she's really this mean, why is he still with her? In verse two, though, he adds a little depth, with a poignant line: "You turned my life around / For that I am glad." For just a minute, I wonder if he's going to back down, but then, with a few more fierce grating strums, he girds his loins: "However much I love you / This love is getting bad." (Weak glad/bad rhyme, but it's the closest he's come yet to breaking things off.

I don't think he's totally made up his mind to leave her, though. In the second bridge he switches back and forth, complaining about "the words that only you could use" and then swearing "But you know you'll always be my girl, girl." And the fadeout (the track I'm listening to is the acoustic Live at Abbey Road version) is him fretting over and over, "But you don't love me, you don't care!" He hits that word "love" with such intense frustration, and peters off in a lonely wail on "care" -- poor guy. He's a hopeless romantic, isn't he? He wishes she'd change, and he knows she won't, but he wishes she's the essence of being Unhappy In Love.

You Don't Love Me sample


Betty C. said...

Hey, did you hear the Kooks' cover of Victoria is being released this weekend?

BTW, your links are showing up in some weird blue that makes them very difficult to read. This is on Firefox. Just thought I'd let you know.

Have a great weekend!

Tiago said...

Hi!! We're The Kavanaghs from Argentina.
Congratulations for your amazing blog!! Thanks for posting all that wonderul music!!!

We're now about to release our first album -a blend of Beatles, Raspberries and Badfinger influenced songs- and we'd like you to listen to our whole -and yet not released- album. We'd love to have your thoughts about it and of course it would be an honor for us if you decide to post it on your blog.
You can download our album here:
and we're also sending you info about us and the album cover.


The Kavanaghs first album -to be released early 2009- is full of retro power pop songs influenced by classic bands like The Beatles, Badfinger and Raspberries, The Beach Boys, The Zombies and
The Kinks among other great bands from the sixties to nowdays. (like The Records, Flamin' Groovies "Shake Some Action", Fountains of Wayne)

If you're into power pop, psych pop, beatlesque songs you will sure enjoy this album!!

Eric Carmen and Jim Bonfanti from the Raspberries -who wrote the liner notes for the upcoming album- said about the Kavanaghs:
"The Beatles, Badfinger and Raspberries fans will love this band!! This guys really wear their influences well. Catchy melodies and great harmonies are still alive. It's a pleasure to hear their songs!!"

Want to know some more about The Kavanaghs??

The Kavanaghs Website ...
The Kavanaghs Myspace Site ...


1 The wrong side of the way -power pop, Beatles / Badfinger styled-
2 Friday on my mind -Beatlesque song-
3 English town, English people -Ray Davis meets Sgt.Pepper´s and Astor Piazzola-
4 Surreal -a McCartney-esque acoustic latin ballad-
5 The simple things -power pop, Raspberries styled-
6 Hyde Park -Kind of a happy George Harrison tune, lots of slide guitars-
7 You know -acoustic ballad-
8 All the time -power pop, Badfinger styled-
9 It seems that I´m not getting things quite right -kind of a Brian Wilson, Pet Sounds song-
10 Cat in town -a straight forward rock and roll song-
11 Goodbye Chris -kind of a Brian Wilson, Beach Boys ballad-

The Kavanaghs is a brand new band from Rosario city, Argentina.
Formed in early 2006, they’re now preparing the release of their first
Band members are:
Tiago Galindez (lead vocals, bass guitar, pianos),
Alejandro Pin (lead vocals, rythm guitars)
Diego Vázquez (lead guitars, backing vocals),
Julio Leidi (drums, percussion and backing vocals).

"All the time", the first single of the band, was released on 2007 by Matchbox Recordings UK on the Big Indie Comeback vol.2 compilation album. (available at cdbaby).

In mid 2008, the band signed a publishing deal with Universal Music.

So, here, for you, are The Kavanaghs. Hope you enjoy it!

Thanks so much again, and we hope to hear from you!!
Good vibrations!

Holly A Hughes said...

Gotta give the kids credit, they're out there promoting themselves, 'cos lord knows the record copanies haven't figured out how to do it for them.

Even though this is borderline spam, I left this up because I took a listen and their music is kinda catchy. Of course it's derivative, and the lyrics are a little weak, but you can't hate them. So if you feel curious, give them a few minutes -- don't cost nothin'.

Hey, Betty, I switched colors but it still won't show up in FIrefox -- maddening!

Tiago said...

Hi Holly!! I'm Tiago from The Kavanaghs.
I've never ment to become a spam thing on your blog...but this is was the only way I found to make contact with you!
I love your blog and would love if you can say a couple of words about us.
BTW...thanks for your kind words!! And yeah...we have to promote ourselves...but it's great to find that people like you allaround the world is giving us a hand...and we find that very important!!
Thanks, and good vibrations, Holly!!