My girlfriend Kim (a.k.a. College Ex #2) hated this song from the start.
I can’t say I blame her, really. Not because the song is bad or anything â€“ au contraire, the song is all kinds of awesome â€“ but because she knew what I knew, but what neither of us wanted to admit: we just didn’t belong together. And this song summed up our relationship in 17 words, though it would be another four and a half years before we accepted it:
There are things I want to do
But I don’t know if they will be with you
That’s the genius of Teenage Fanclub’s Bandwagonesque: it’s staggeringly economical. The lyrics to “What You Do to Me” are 20 — count ’em! — 20 words long. The chorus to “The Concept” is “I didn’t want to hurt you / Oooooooh yeaaaaaah.” But nothing from the album pierced me like those first two lines from “Alcoholiday,” because there were things I wanted to do someday â€“ get married, have kids â€“ but I always questioned whether she would be the one that I’d do them with. I now realize, of course, that if you’re not sure if you want to marry someone, it’s a sure sign that you don’t â€“ and shouldn’t â€“ marry them.
But man, did I love her. With everything I had. It just wasn’t enough. Her parents and friends didn’t like me, my family and friends didn’t like her, and our relationship with each other was what Matt Groening once described as Cobra & Mongoose. Nothing was going to hold this one together. That is perhaps the toughest lesson I have ever learned, that sometimes love isn’t enough. I was such a naive romantic that I truly believed that love could conquer all. Fool. “Baby, I’ve been fucked already,” indeed.