Things I Like: New Order’s “Bizarre Love Triangle”

The song Bizarre Love Triangle by the band New Order is one of my comfort songs.

Here, listen to it while you read.

And here’s the lyrics:

Every time I think of you
I feel shot right through with a bolt of blue
It’s no problem of mine
But it’s a problem I find
Living a life that I can’t leave behind
But there’s no sense in telling me
The wisdom of the fool won’t set you free
But that’s the way that it goes
And it’s what nobody knows
well every day my confusion grows

Every time I see you falling
I get down on my knees and pray
I’m waiting for that final moment
You say the words that I can’t say

I feel fine and I feel good
I’m feeling like I never should
Whenever I get this way
I just don’t know what to say
Why can’t we be ourselves like we were yesterday
I’m not sure what this could mean
I don’t think you’re what you seem
I do admit to myself
That if I hurt someone else
Then I’ll never see just what we’re meant to be

Every time I see you falling
I get down on my knees and pray
I’m waiting for that final moment
You say the words that I can’t say

I have devoted considerable mental resources to determining the meaning of this song. I can’t tell if it’s about relationships, drugs, or both. I’m guessing both. But if relationships, what sort? Romantic? Platonic? I have no idea.

That ambiguity is part of why I love the song so much. It has meant different things to me at different times in my life. The “you” in the song keep changing for me. Sometimes friends, often lovers.

It’s a wistful, hopeful song. It’s a song whose point of view understands that this, whatever this is, will not work out well. And they’ve accepted that. Things fall apart, the center does not hold, as it were.

I’m not sure what this could mean
I don’t think you’re what you seem

Yet the point of view character is hanging in there, for good or for ill. They are going to see what happens next, they are going to take the chances, make the mistakes, learn and try to make it come out differently next time. The track record of the protagonist is not good, here. They sing “every time,” meaning this thing, whatever this thing is, keeps happening.

I have related to this in the past. Making the same mistakes.

But, but, I hold out hope for the protagonist, mostly because I relate. After all, I have gotten better at not making the same mistakes; perhaps they will, too.

Yet, without fail, the opening lines hook me through the heart —

Every time I think of you
I feel shot right through with a bolt of blue

I know that feeling. I know that feeling. When I feel that way, I, too, don’t know what to do about it. I, too, can’t figure out how the next steps will go. Historically, the next step for me in any relationship that starts THAT way leads down a daisy chain of perdition and ends with me dumping the person about whom I once had those feelings. I use the opening lines of “Bizarre Love Triangle” as a warning, these days. A warning to myself to not bloody well do the same damn thing to YET ANOTHER gorgeous brilliant funny woman whose voice and manner are a bolt of blue.

Nope. This song is my personal Wrong Way sign. Yet I still love it, I still hum it when I am happy, or sad, or stressed, or mellow. The words and tone communicate so much that is meaningful to me, about confusion and intention and feelings and mistakes and always, always hope.

Maybe this time will turn out differently that all the times before. Maybe I am wiser, and more careful, and maybe I’m waiting for that final moment where you say the words that I really should not say.

2 Responses

  1. Hallow Sigrid Ellis,
    Thanks for sharing, I learned a lot from your point of view.
    -I really like this one:
    • “Historically, the next step for me in any relationship that starts THAT way leads down a daisy chain of perdition and ends with me dumping the person about whom I once had those feelings.”
    -It really hurts so the solution:
    • “A warning to myself to not bloody well do the same…”
    By the way, your B.L.T. – Substance version is better than all remix I heard, as of now I have B.L.T. – Discotech version from 4shared.com but from now on I’m going to use your version. 🙂

  2. the song is about a guy who provides emotional support to a lady who is in an abusive relationship; secretly he wants more but he can’t tell her to dump the jerk. He can’t let go but he knows that by giving her emotional support he makes it easier for the bad relationship to continue.

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