#31songs (9): Bury Your Love Like Treasure, by The Blue Aeroplanes

#31songs (9): Best Ending

‘Bury Your Love Like Treasure’, by The Blue Aeroplanes, from Spitting Out Miracles

Endings are something the Blue Aeroplanes are good at. On several songs they synchronise the completion of the lyric with the closure of the music, which can give a final line an epigrammatic forcefulness even if the words don’t entirely merit it: that’s there as early as ‘Hard Objects’ by Art Objects, and later in ‘And Stones’ from Swagger.  It’s not quite the same as Wire’s aesthetic of ending the music when the words run out: what the Aeroplanes does feels less arbitrary, feels like a culmination.  In other songs though, the musicians are happy to jam around a theme long after Gerard has, so to speak, folded up his poetry book and left the stage; the effect isn’t quite as distinctive, but the sound that the band makes in full flight is magnificent: take the playout to ‘Talking on the Other Phone’ from Friendloverplane 2, for example.

‘Bury Your Love Like Treasure’ opens side two of the vinyl Spitting Out Miracles, and for that reason also deserves an honorary mention in the best opening category: John Stapleton, who at this stage in the band’s history was splicing samples into the band’s music, begins the song with ‘After a Smooooth Landing on Side Two’, taken from goodness-knows-where, and then with a spiky couple of chords we’re launched into the song:

The Album version

The Official Video (shorn of Stapleton’s sample)

There’s a force and simplicity about the music for verses: two strong emphases on the second and third beats, then a long run up and down the scale in the following bar.  (I have an idea that there’s a kind of sea-shanty origin for this: two strong beats for the pull on the rope, and the rest of the two bars to relax and recover.)  The lyrics are relatively forceful and direct too: a relationship in crisis, retaliations on both sides.  The big indecipherable irony lies in the chorus: if the addressee does bury her love, will the speaker’s finding it really be a success for the relationship?  Doesn’t his promise that he’ll ‘still find it’ sound more like a threat?

The main body of the song is done by 2.00, and it’s here that the music treats begin: interwoven backing vocals singing a sort of round, first calming the song down, and then gradually building it up again, working round an organ line that begins thin and simple and itself becomes busier.  There’s a strong folk feeling to it, but also a psychedelic quality. The vocal performances actually sound a bit shaky in places, as if some of the singers were at the edge of their ranges, but that’s part of its charm.

The folk influences on The Blue Aeroplanes are a curious matter, because if a defining feature of folk songs is the potential for anyone to join in with the singing, then Gerard Langley’s vocal performances are the opposite of folk: they’re spectacles to be heard and admired, but they’re not for joining in with. You can’t even sing the song to yourself when it’s over, though you can replay it in your head.  But the playout vocals on ‘Bury Your Love’ invite you to join in.

LYRICS

BAs Bury Your Love

I’m not at all sure it’s a good idea,
I think someone’s mistaken in this house.
Nobody could say your intentions were clear
But who in this place is going to work it all out?

You can bury your love like treasure,
Bury it so deep you can’t even measure it,
Bury your love like treasure,
I’ll still find it.

You can note all this down with a fine-point pen,
All these shared things, special intensities,
But none of it’s been true since way back when,
We can’t even be in the same city.
So tell me the difference between women and men,
You told it me once, tell me again.
Tell me that version, tell it me now,
Here in the morning, once more at noon.
I’ll never be certain I’m not staying here,
With this view of the sea from our white hotel room.

Bury your love like treasure,
Bury it so deep you can’t even measure it,
Bury your love like treasure,
But I’ll still find it.

 

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