Why do we stick with the ones we love? Do we even love them anymore?
OK, OK, I’m being as needlessly cynical as only a single person can be. I’m sure that out of all the people reading this who are in a relationship, not an insignificant amount of you truly love the person you’re with. 35%, maybe even 36% or 37%. Not as many as 40%, that’d be absurd. I’m sure that a good 35% of the people in a relationship reading this would say that they absolutely love the person they’re with. The rest, though…?
Look at Colin. Would you honestly say that you truly loved Colin? Colin? Do you still absolutely consider his feelings and his safety as more important than your own? Is seeing hims smile still the highlight of your day? Would you- and remember we’re being completely honest here- honestly prefer to spend time with him than to spend time without his shuffling and awkward presence?
I mean, your partner is absolutely fine, don’t get me wrong, very polite and very clean, but when was the last time they truly excited you? Maybe they did at the start of the relationship. Maybe. You can’t really remember. By now though, they haven’t for a long time justified this apparent ‘love’ you continually profess to having for them whenever they say it first and you don’t want things to get awkward. By now, are you in a relationship because you honestly love them, or are you just doing them a favour? They’ve never done anything to hurt you, of course- that’d be far too interesting and exciting a step, and might actually light a spark in the relationship- so you could never do anything as drastic as finishing the relationship with Colin, or even consider cheating on him. He doesn’t deserved to be loved, but he’s far too well-mannered to deserve to be dumped. He’s never going to dump you, because- seriously?- what right minded woman is ever going to consider fucking Colin? So. You’re stuck. You don’t love Colin anymore. Maybe you never did. You’re far too nice a person to hate him or even finish the relationship. You’re stuck. Now you’re both just there.
I was worried that I’d reached that point with The Joy Formidable. I mean, sure, I loved the band. Definitely loved them. But I was starting to feel like ‘loving’ them was simply the official state I inhabited with a band I hadn’t really liked for as long as I can remember. Their last album, the bleak and uninspired ‘Hitch‘, was the sound of embers being pissed on so thoroughly that it was impossible to tell if there was a fire ever there in the first place. Was there? I seemed to remember really liking their debut, but I was in China and far too happily in a relationship to ever bother with these lists, so there’s no actual record of that. I was still convinced that the opening song off their debut album was one of the best rock songs of recent times… but… since then…?
Was this… all there was…? All there… ever was…?
But then there was ‘Aaarth’. But then there was ‘Aaarth‘.
Out of seemingly nowhere, the band come back with the greatest album of their career, comfortably outstripping The Men as 2018’s biggest pleasant surprise. Fuck, ‘Aaarth’ might even be 2018’s greatest pure rock album period. The band have grown 大胆子 like never before, and no album in 2018 had a sound quite as meaty.
Suddenly, The Joy Formidable are energised, they’re indispensable, and they’re essential. ‘Aaarth’ even sounds indisputably like they have their own sound. Which, granted, they may well have had before, but now it’s louder! They’ve justified my continued love many times over.
Colin? Nah, he’s a loser and absolutely wasting your life. This analogy only goes so far.
2011 (like, maybe number 3, or summat. I didn’t hear many albums that year)