To say that I have a soft spot for musical melodrama would be a great understatement. “Unfinished Sympathy” by Massive Attack, for example. “In Denial” by the Pet Shop Boys and Kylie Minogue, love it. Pretty much everything Muse has ever done, _\nn/. (That’s shorthand for devil horns, by the way.) There are other examples, but since they stand a good chance of showing up in this column, I think I’ll stop here. You get the idea, anyway.
This predisposition naturally makes me a sucker for German septet Super 700, whose music positively reeks of melodrama. Filled with minor-key pianos and disconnected female vocals, the band’s new album Lovebites sounds like the unofficial soundtrack for a movie about a vampire and the Portuguese princess who loves him. This is not to say that the album is a big mopey Gothfest – and truth be told, I don’t understand half of what singer Ibadet Ramadani is saying, thanks to her Liz Fraser-esque way with English – but the music just feels like love lost, or at the very least love unrequited, and quite possibly forbidden.
The album’s Big Moment is “Second in Line,” where strings, conga drums, octave-jumping guitars and what sounds like African chanting merge together to form one impossibly big song. I’ll be honest, the first verse is a little wonky; Ramadani does a nifty Martha Davis impression – which is fitting, since Motels songs like “Take the L” also boasted more than their share of melodrama – but the chords she’s singing over feel like they’ve been stolen from another song, in a different key, no less. Then the pre-chorus and chorus arrive, and they produce something so hypnotic that they may as well come with a magician waving a watch in front of your eyes. I’m not sure if it means much; I think it’s about a woman who’s involved with a married man (I’ve listened to the song a dozen times, but I’ll be damned if the lyrics have sunk in yet), but even if I’m wrong, it sure does sound as if someone’s life, or love, is hanging in the balance of every beat.
Today is the thirteenth anniversary of the day I began dating the woman that would become my wife. This might seem an odd song to write about on a day like that, but in truth it’s appropriate because she saved me from the very melodrama that these songs embody. I may still like the way they sound, but I’m glad that the days where I lived these songs are far, far behind me. Thank you, sweetie.