Thursday, December 15, 2011

This Won't Hurt A Bit: Leapy Lee: "Little Arrows"

The experience of falling in love is, to say the least, an interesting one. It is swoony, it is perpetual, it puzzlingly either seems to grow over months or happens seemingly within seconds (or even weirder, both of these occur). To those of you who have yet to fall in love, all I can say is you certainly will know when it happens - it is an overwhelming experience and an understandably confusing one, because the world is being newly refreshed all around you, and this renewal is constant and suddenly the Other is magically everywhere.

After so many songs of death, sacrifice and sorrow this song is a very welcome reminder that, even in the chaos of '68, Cupid is still hard at work, his arrows scattering everywhere. Here these arrows are as common as the twirling maple seeds in Toronto, getting into hair and clothes; not even armour can stop them, so powerful are they.

While Leapy Lee is not exactly the first name you think of when the word "punctum" comes to mind, the piercing quality of those arrows cannot be denied. Falling in love makes you wake up; it makes you vulnerable; and to a certain extent, you have to be ready for love in order to fall into it*. Those arrows may be little but their accumulative power is awesome, and Leapy Lee (dressed much like Cat Stevens was) makes it sound like fun, kind of like winning the lottery. I can only attribute this to the songwriters, Albert Hammond and Mike Hazelwood, who were country/pop writers and not opera composers after all - the lightheartedness here is a joy, a little inane to those who always take love Very Seriously, but a joy nonetheless. Because of its mythological basis this isn't bubblegum (bubblegum never presumes you know anything, or that you're over ten) but a kind of giddy, winking (though not knowing) embrace of Cupid, whose own character was naturally mischievous.

In a way this song is only for those who haven't fallen in love yet; it is fair warning for what is to come, though kind of a camouflage as well for what really happens, which feels less like being covered in arrows and more like a drug-like experience that doesn't let up...

Next up: more romance, courtesy of a Friendly Forbear.

*Erich Fromm says you have to know and respect yourself before you can love anyone else; not terribly romantic, but absolutely true.

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