Monday, January 14, 2008


Listen to LOVE COMES IN SPURTS by Richard Hell & The Voidoids.

Love Comes In Spurts is a seminal punk rock song. It's two minutes of unbridled energy, but it's also a song that has long endured with music lovers.

You see what I've done there? On first listen, Love Comes In Spurts is what you might call a single entendre song, but I think it's better to call it something like a reverse double entendre. It's not really about sex (though it is), but more about the pain and difficulty of intense adolescent relationships. As Mark Deming writes,

Hell's real subject wasn't Eros so much as the maddening search for validation through a relationship. ... [I]t's made obvious that this song isn't about sex, it's about love that arrives in measures too few and far between to ease the pain of a harsh and abrasive world.
This reading is defensible with the benefit of hindsight, as Richard Hell proved to be one of the more literate and intellectual members of the New York punk scene. Likewise, it's apparent now that the late, accomplished Robert Quine's jagged and angular guitar attack is an aesthetic choice, not garage band incompetence. A lot going on in this dumb little ditty!

Photo: Empire State Building Series, #1.


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