Emphatic Ambivalence: Velvet Underground’s Greatest Love Song
So I was lying in the bath just now listening to Velvet Underground’s eponymous second album when “Some Kind of Love” comes on. And I am struck, not for the first time, by the fantastic, playful, hilarious, and generous lyrics.
The title alone is telling and, again, generous: some kinds of love. Not this kind of love. Not love as pain, love as longing, love as union — just different kinds of love and each has its place:
Some kinda love
Margarita told Tom
between thought and expression lies a lifetime
situations arise because of the weather
and no kinds of love
are better than others
Love emerges from the weather, in the faltering between feeling and word. And this love can take any number of forms, from the silly to the profound:
Some kinds of love
Margarita told Tom
like a dirty French novel
combines the absurd with the vulgar
and some kinds of love
the possibilities are endless
and for me to miss one
would seem to be groundless
…and some kinds of love
are mistaken for visionary
This ambivalence does not heed indecision or reflection without action. On the contrary, for Lou Reed it inspires play and frolic:
Put jelly on your shoulder
let us do what you fear most
that from which you recoil
but which still makes your eyes moist
And it ends with an embrace of the ambivalence, the multivalence of love — and this, I would say, is joy, an affirmation of it all, a diving in even though he knows — knows — there will be pain and tears but also pleasure and delight: there will be life:
I don’t know just what it’s all about
but put on your red pajamas and find out
This is the greatest love song I know precisely because it embraces all the different modes of love, the different kinds of love. Because it loves without demanding univocality, loves without cliche, loves without bathos but with pathos, loves nonetheless, loves with feeling, loves with humor, loves with passion.
And isn’t that what love is all about?
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Understand that it’s not easy to hear how someone you love very much is dissatisfied with you.
You know we are in the thick of summer when you leave your apartment and on the 10 minute walk to the subway you are basically DRENCHED.
I’m not crazy, and this idea of us did exist outside of the dusty corners of my mind.
Our desire to connect is hardwired in our DNA. It’s part of what makes us human.