The Gentle Monster

Movie Poster For 'Edward Scissorhands'

I’m watching Elfman: Tim Burton Film Music on Live From Lincoln Center. When they got to Edward Scissorhands, I was struck anew by the simple purity and tragedy of that story. (And isn’t that so like Tim Burton? A simple, heartfelt tale dressed up in baroque fantastical imagery?)  The foundation of every good protagonist is frustrated desire.  What does he or she want? And why can’t they get it? Edward wants love.  He wants so deeply to be loved by everyone.  And why can’t he get it? Because he is a monster, an unfinished creature gentle by nature yet destructive through no fault of his own. I think we can all relate to that.  We want love, yet we are flawed.  We are unfinished.  We reach out to touch and hurt those we care about. And the sadness of the end is, I believe, something we all fear, that our loved ones will only be safe far away from us.

Of course, our lives aren’t fairytales.  They’re much more complex, and, in many ways, much more beautiful.  We can give and receive forgiveness and mercy to and from those we love, because we are all flawed. We all hurt each other and ourselves. And we all heal each other and ourselves.  We don’t need to be banished, because we are needed here, in the world, to give and receive love.

She’s a giggle at a funeral

This is yet another song about the dangers of love, about losing yourself in another human being even when they are no good.  The narrator is willing to destroy the world if that’s what it takes to lay a sacrifice at the feet of his beloved, a cult of one.

This is Hozier with “Take Me To Church.”

I want to tear you apart

According to Stephanie Meyer, the Twilight series grew out of a dream she had one night, in which she watched a tensely romantic moment between a man and woman. The man said he was afraid to get close to the woman because he was afraid he would kill her. When Meyer awoke, she was compelled to write to see how that scenario would play out. She’s hardly the only person to examine the link between sex and violence.  Two of my favorite horror-themed shows, American Horror Story and Hannibal, examine this theme in-depth, and in particular the compulsion to consume the beloved.

This song puts that theme to one hell of a beat.  It’s “Tear You Apart” by She Wants Revenge.

Everything is different now

Don Henley is no stranger to the dark side of humanity.  Consider “Hotel California,” or “Dirty Laundry.”  But, true to the title, his song “Everything Is Different Now” is different, not because it doesn’t address the grittiness of the hell of vice and addiction, but because there is an escape, through faith and in both giving and receiving the unconditional, committed love of another human being.  This is a horror story with a happy ending.  I fully recommend watching the video, because it is a work of art in and of itself.  It skillfully portrays personal hell, as well as personal salvation.


Love Me Dead

Many of the songs I will be posting this month are about love.  And it makes sense.  First of all, it is my totally inexpert estimate that ninety-eight percent of all songs are about love, so it’s hard to avoid.  Second, even at its best, love can be a terrifying thing.  When you allow yourself to love someone, you are granting them the ability to truly hurt you.  I’m a fan of the show Hannibal (moment of silence…) and one of the many, many things that they got right was precisely this.  Hannibal Lecter was bulletproof until he loved Will Graham, and then it was Will, and only Will, who could ultimately be his downfall (a wink to my fellow Fannibals out there who get that reference).

So here is my first offering on the subject of that horrifying thing we call love, and it’s a fun one. Ladies and gentlemen, this is Ludo with “Love Me Dead.”