The only thing more unthinkable than leaving was staying; the only thing more impossible than staying was leaving. I didn't want to destroy anything or anybody. I just wanted to slip quietly out the back door, without causing any fuss or consequences, and then not stop running until I reached Greenland.
― Elizabeth Gilbert
If this quote resonates with you, well…I am sorry. It means that somebody’s put you through hell. In fact, maybe you’re still living that hell every day, indecisive, unable to leave, not sure of what is real and what isn’t, not sure who’s to blame. Maybe you are staying for financial reasons or maybe you are staying for the kids. Whatever the reason, fun’s gone out of your life a long time ago and now you are just coping. You feel like you are lost in the sea of negativity, skepticism and emotional chaos with no hope for a brighter future. Yeah, I can still remember what that was like.
Written with the Music to Celebrate Life playlist in mind, “I Don’t Love You” was never going to have light lyrics. I needed to practice what I had been preaching for the past eight months in my blog. These words would have to go deep; they would have to describe real feelings about falling out of love and do that pretty damn accurately. So, when I sat down with a pen and some paper (yes, that’s how people of my vintage still write), I had decided I wasn’t going to compose a straightforward love song. As I already stated in the Neil Young write-up, there are, and I believe this to be true, way too many of those out there. And to anybody older than thirty, these sappy ditties have very little to do with reality. They are usually about some boy somewhere pleading a girl to stay. And from a man’s perspective, this sort of thing is ridiculous. If you don’t have kids and the woman wants to go, don’t stop her. Trust me – a new one will come along. By begging someone to stay, you will lose all leverage and respect and from that, there really is no turning back. You will end up like the main character in our track of the week, “I Don’t Love You” written by yours truly.
Mind you, “I Don’t Love You” was not an easy tune to complete. Uncharacteristically of me, I wrote the words before the melody and this lead me to a bit of a conundrum. What I had scribbled down was rather sinister. Yet, the melody I came up with was poppy. I tried rewriting the melody a few times but the problem was that I quite liked the first one I had written, the one that came naturally. I thought long and hard about combining a melody that’s very positive with such a dark lyric. I wasn’t sure about it. That is until I dug a little deeper into my own consciousness and asked myself what might have triggered the peppy melody in the first place. After all, when I wrote the damn thing, I had my handwritten lyrics in front of me all the time.
After pondering on this for a while, the answer came to me. You see the day you realize you don’t love your significant other might be a sad day but it is also a liberating day. If you are able to admit something like that to yourself, then in a way, you’ve set yourself free. Perhaps this is why “I Don’t Love You” ended up being so uplifting musically. And also, as you are reading this, remember that admitting this sort of thing to yourself doesn’t necessarily mean getting divorced (especially if there are children involved); it just means that you can slowly but surely start taking control of your life again. You lower your expectations considerably and start aiming your energy at things that are more rewarding to you than a relationship that never quite met your expectations in the first place. This is how you get off the emotional roller coaster and start enjoying life again.
It’s actually rather hard to accept that your relationship is far from perfect and this is the reason why I’m taking the song full circle emotionally. The lyrics turn more positive toward the end. While the song starts off with the protagonist realizing he doesn’t love his wife anymore (as he is going about his every-day business, shopping for groceries and picking up the kids), it ends with him remembering what it felt like to fall in love with her.
I recall the day we met
That memory hasn’t faded yet
One look and it was over
I fell for you
At the very end, he even wonders if they could “start over again,” fully well realizing that that ship sailed a long time ago. Obviously, this is nothing more than a passing, albeit a comforting though, that people usually have when they are separating. Telling yourself it might not be over for good is, at this stage, simply a way to find the final piece of courage you need to leave the person you once loved. If you listen to the lyrics carefully, you’ll notice that the main character misses, “the way that we were” but he does not miss what they have become.
Having said all of this, I want to stress the fact that neither the song nor the band is a solo effort. I might have written and sung “I Don’t Love You” but it was produced and arranged by my bandmate Tuukka Heikkinen (also the drummer on this track), who I thought did a fantastic job with the song, spending quite a few hours perfecting and honing it while I was busy elsewhere. In addition, you are also being treated to the talents of Luis Herrero (bass and vocal harmonies) and Jussi Turunen (guitars). We feel we’re offering you a nice little brew of talents and hope you have as much fun listening to this track as we had creating it.
The key lesson of the song? Well, do not get married unless you are truly content and satisfied with the person you are intending to marry. With the wrong person, it only gets worse, not better. And do yourself a favor, when choosing your partner, go for modesty, kindness, and like-mindedness. Also, understand that while opposites might attract, they rarely last…and there’s only so much hurt and disappointment one persons can swallow.
Finally, if you don’t believe me, remember what the famous American journalist Maureen Dowd once said: “The minute you settle for less than you deserve, you get even less than you settled for.”
You can learn more about Bullet Lane here:
About the curator - Tommi Tikka
Tom Tikka is a linguist, poet, professional songwriter, recording artist and a music aficionado. He started playing guitar when he was four and writing songs when he was six. Consequently, he doesn't remember a time when he wasn't playing or writing. It's fair to say, music and lyrics are not just something he loves to engage himself in; to him, they are a way of life.