How annoying relationships are like Coldplay, and other musical dating metaphors

In the heatwave of a couple of weekends ago, PJ was discussing with me and N his theory on dates. ‘Maybe dates are like albums,’ he said. ‘You might not like it on a first listen, but give it time and a few more listens, and it eventually grows on you.’

I’ve been thinking about this and would like to expand this line of thought… Feel free to add your own thoughts in the comments!

One Day Like This by Elbow
OR
Lifelong, committed, ‘let’s get married’ love

This is the date that’s like a single you love and want to hear over and over. You never tire of it, even when it’s used as the theme music to the BBC’s Olympic coverage and played incessantly. It makes you feel exhilarated, like you can soar. You sing it to yourself, you tell all your friends about it, and about how much you like it.

Eventually, you decide you love the single so much, you invest in the album. Delightfully it doesn’t disappoint either. It has highs and lows, but overall it’s an all-time classic. You talk about this to all your friends too, and some of them agree that they do quite like it, as well. After a few months of listening to the album on repeat, you buy the back catalogue. Your mates by your concert tickets, t-shirts and other band-related memorabilia as gifts. They know you’re fully invested – this is lifelong commitment.

Sweet Disposition by Temper Trap
OR
That guy from that summer, do you remember? When we went camping in Dorset?
You know the one…

Of course, sometimes a great single doesn’t necessarily mean there’s a great album behind it. There are times when a great song is just that, three minutes of joy that has no musical substance behind it, or waiting to follow it. It doesn’t stop your enjoyment of the song, but the full album never makes it onto your iPod in full.

Instead, you drop in the one track that reminds you of that summer a couple of years ago, and only listen to it when you’re listening on shuffle. Or when you’re in a pub and it comes on and you call out ‘TUNE!’ and think fondly of those good times when the song was in the chart.

Then it gets forgotten, until next time.

Paradise by Coldplay
OR
The bloke you wish you’d never looked twice at

O man, you were so in love! But this song – with the riff that gets stuck in your head, that you can’t shake, and that actually is a little bit annoying – has just ruined EVERYTHING you once had together. This is a band that you had a deep and darkly intense relationship with at the start, jumping straight into the album phase. The second album is different, but you still liked it, listened to it as much. But by the third you feel things beginning to go wrong, although you ignore it because there are still flashes of brilliance in the form of  great singles. You stick with it until eventually, all that’s left of a once true and pure love is a three bar repetitive riff on what you feel you once had. And so you walk away.

Moves Like Jagger by Maroon 5
OR
Your go-to-guy when you need to remind yourself you CAN flirt


Yes, it’s another song with a catch, but it’s in a decent single, from a new album, by a band whose old album you’ve not listened to in a while. The riff that gets stuck in your head, but instead of annoying you, actually reminds you of how much you liked this band. The musical equivalent of that cheeky chappy who you’ve always had a soft spot for, but know before you even start it would never work out. So you’ll happily flirt. Sure, you might not go all the way and buy an album, but you’ll happily borrow it from a mate or listen to it on Spotify instead.

 

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