I do. I love Somebody. With so much unabridged passion that I’m slightly shamed by the fact.
Of course, I’m speaking of the song by Depeche Mode. But before you rush to judgment, understand that it’s more than just a crack in my tough–guy façade. It’s a fissure in the rampart.
I Do Not Like Depeche Mode
It’s not that I dislike the people who are a part of Depeche Mode. I am sure that they are perfectly fine human beings. I am just not a fan of their overall body of work. I am much more a Classic Rock sort of guy at my core, with an affinity for 1980s rock and power ballads, 1990s borderline–Emo post–punk music (NIN) and Elvis Aaron Presley.
OK, to be honest, I’m all over the board. But I know what I like, and Depeche Mode doesn’t usually fall in the category of things that I like.
In fact, funny story: in Senior year of high school, we had these fake “dating computer” matchmaking exercises run. The girl and I who got the highest match not only never dated, she was a Depeche Mode fan and I was a staunch Van Halen guy. She even boldly stated to me that DM was “way better” than VH.
Seriously, that computer was seriously screwed up if it thought I could bridge a divide that far.
But I have a weakness for one song.
It’s A Sweet Song
It’s delicate, it’s soft and it’s vulnerable, three things of which I hate to think. All three of them are symptoms of weakness, and weakness is to be driven from your heart like villagers before the Visigoth hordes.*
*I’m not serious, silly.
Despite this, the song gives you permission to be those things. It treads lightly and captures that spirit of fresh and hopeful love—one unencumbered by baggage or cynicism. It believes, and encourages belief, in a pure and fulfilling love that is not eternally out of reach (unlike a lot of pop songs) but is just a question of time and opportunity.
It even speaks to the idea that the one you love “won’t easily be converted” to your way of thinking and that it’s OK not to march in lock–step on everything. In essence, this mythical Somebody is not someone who is simply you in different chromosomes, but someone real that is greater than the sum of their parts when they come to you.
Full Disclosure: Special Memories
Agent Bun might not want to read any further. But I’m writing about something that happened more than 20 years ago at this point, so I think the statute of limitations is up.
When I was 16, I was still socially awkward (Someday I won’t be! Hope springs eternal!) and didn’t quite understand the feelings I felt toward someone in particular. She was sweet and kind, and had a generous heart and benevolent smile.
So inevitably, I became infatuated with her. (This was a pattern that Hawk noticed over time, and chided me about it kindly. For years.)
We spoke on the phone every single night and talked about everything and anything that we could think of, under the guise of friendship. Though I don’t recall any conversations, I believe I was quite the charmer. Probably also Star Wars. Pretty sure that was in the mix.
When we saw each other in school every weekday, I wasn’t even aware we were flirting, but we were. Apparently everyone noticed it but me. Self–esteem goes a long way to noticing that, though, and mine was low enough that I would never have presumed any girl would be interested in me.
So one night, on the phone in the kitchen, the one on the wall by the back windows, I was talking to her. We had lost power (a relatively frequent occurrence on the hinterlands), so all I had was a flashlight, a candle, and her voice in my ear. I knew that she sang and I told her I thought she had a nice voice. I meant this as a sincere lack–of–subtext compliment.
So at some point, she asked if I’d heard the song Somebody by Depeche Mode. Of course I had not.
So she sang it to me.
It was at that moment that I remember thinking, “does she ‘like’ me too?”
The conversation ended (probably awkwardly) soon after that, and I was still too full of self–doubt to think that I understood the situation correctly. I could be stupid like that, another fact that Hawk teased me about every time I stumbled over myself. Hawk has a special license in his wallet allowing that at all times. I regret printing it.*
*Not literally. That would be weird.
So to some extent, whenever I hear the song, I’m reminded of being 16, awkward and hopelessly in love with the idea that Somebody could feel that same sort of special feeling about me that I did about them.
And the song is structured in that light, airy style that just feels like young and innocent romance.
So yeah, for many reasons, I love Somebody.