Mojave 3 – Mercy (Strings Version)

Another dream, another crack in the heart. Mojave 3’s music is oozing melancholy just like that of Slowdive, the previous band of the 3 members. But here Neil Halstead’s solid songwriting is much more obvious when not bathed in a swarm of buzzing and bleeding guitars. The fragility, the sensitivity come to the front, and the very human experience of hopeless love is revealed in its raw essence.

The lyrics are somewhat ambiguous. The song could be about early stages of a relationship, that uncertainty, one person’s hesitation and messes that become an obstacle. However, I’m hearing it more as a lamentation on a relationship already ending, the attempt to hold on to what was good and the inability to keep things together because the other person isn’t trying enough, and the realization that they don’t have enough love. They are more preoccupied with a mess of their own. Perhaps drugs. Maybe I’m reading too much into it because of Slowdive’s reputation with drug use, but the line “You’re taking all my time, you’re taking all the time,” has ambiguity like that; “taking” has dozens of possible meanings, and here it’s possible that the second instance is not referring to time but to drugs, like saying “you’re using all the time”. But it’s just that one line, not enough to lock down the meaning to one interpretation.

Also there’s the tragedy of choices we make, ostensibly innocuous, not intended to hurt anyone, made from the viewpoint of our own needs. But in a relationship those choices may still hurt the other person. A shared life, the clashes of conflicting needs and desires.

Yet there is always beauty, and most of the time it seems worth it, despite the possibility of heartbreak. Even feeling resigned, slowly accepting that the other person will never have enough love, at least not in this relationship. The strength of hope, when we full well know that there should not be need to beg for someone’s affection. It is freely given, and if there’s a need to start bargaining for it, they don’t really care, not enough. Yet you keep wishing. You can’t feel their love, but the impulse is still strong enough to sing out your need.

And even when things are over and you know the relationship is beyond repair, you still keep the memories, hold on to them. They may even seem like the best thing you have, because they become the symbol of all the love the world once had to offer, and all the love you have within. We have so much capacity for loving everything, yet in a relationship one person may become the one focal point without whom it seems that love wouldn’t even exist. Yet love keeps streaming without a beginning, without an end, this ability to reach out and care for each other. Even when it’s not felt to be real at all times. We always have warmth to share, and warmth to look at things together, to choose and see beauty in everything around us, in the person chosen, in ourselves. Mercy.