In The Key of B: Love Will Tear Us Apart


It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages.” ― Friedrich Nietzsche

As mentioned earlier, I’ve been wondering about the well-being of my best friend lately. He’s been running rampant in my thoughts, especially leading to his birthday. But while I know he’s a big boy and can take care of himself, I also know he’s one for melodrama. Six years with him proved through everything he shared about his life, his circumstances, the people in it and the choices he has second-guessed, he’s the type of person who would listen to reflective music in his car.

Lately, I’ve been doing that too! It’s not a big deal, obviously. I think we all do it. It helps to really dig deep into words left unspoken. And while I’m a big fan of Talking Heads, I’ve been listening to Joy Division on and off for the past year. They rank high as one of my favorites and this past fall and winter, a lot of their tracks have been speaking to me and reaching beyond in the sentiment I know my best friend would share about his own life. One song in particular has stuck out as a track that reminds me of his relationship with someone. It’s a track called, “Love Will Tear Us Apart.”

As one of my favorites, it’s simply a song about love that never dies, but somehow through time and life, just fades away. Or as my best friend would say, a love that is unable to see eye-to-eye anymore.

In all honesty though, the way I initially interpreted the track months ago is that the inclusion of “love” in a relationship (particularly, a friendship) signifies a sense of impending doom. For whatever reason though with obligations or current circumstances, a relationship cannot carry forward as there’s too much intensity for the dynamic to remain platonic. And thus, “love will tear us apart.” And with the motions of our life, it’s a cycle that is battled with those we care about the most until a solution is discovered. Sometimes though, those solutions are rooted in ballast.

In everything that he is and everything he will ever be, I have been one to notice there is a lot behind my best friend’s quiet demeanor and solitary self. He’s one who hides a lot in his life in fear of loss. And it breaks my heart knowing everything he shared with me about his ambitions won’t ever see light as he will never fully get to be that person he wanted to be. Though he has potential for greatness and a steadfast strength to really carry out his true goals in order to find his personal purpose, take away what he is today and who he has become, and I can guarantee you he would be scared to cultivate and harness his passion because it’s not seemingly practical to those in his current lifestyle. Sadly, he recedes into comfort because there’s no fear of loss or a notion of abandonment when you’ve settled.

That said, he is kind and sweet, raised by grandparents who fed every bit of love into him. I was lucky enough to see that for a while, but it made me think of who he is without any embellishments. For years, he’s been the type of guy who lives  so much of his life in his own head, theorizing an outcome, and jumping the gun, but spends so much time alone because of it. And there’s so much about himself that no one else knows but him. When I look at him or listen to him in those moments of silence, I am certain he is someone who cannot help but wonder between the concepts of, “How much is really me?” versus “How much is in my head?” He’s an enigma and I know him well enough to know that these past few years of our relationship, however you may see it, meant something to him deep down.

But that said, with the notion of a constant “appeal” as a lyric in the song, I thought about my best friend. I thought about him sitting alone, late night, by himself listening to music and this track would be one that speaks to him the most.

This song in everything that it is, is pretty straightforward with an allure and uniqueness that speaks to the deeper level of logic and reason. As the downside to a relationship on the brink, this track gives us a sense of two people emotionally drifting away and slowly paving their own paths that don’t seem to fit together. They are their own people, living as roommates and while they are desperate to work on their dynamic, the more they try, the bigger the wedge grows between them. And because they love each other, it’s love that’s tearing them apart and not the circumstances. They don’t know how to be themselves with one another. They are intense, argumentative, but all they do is hurt one another. In today’s sociability, that would translate as the ideal couple, shooting selfies and taking to Facebook or Twitter and proving to people that they’re happy, when it’s the opposite.

While aware of one another’s feelings, couples grow apart and yet maintain attraction through spending time with each other, going on long trips to prove it’s right. And rather than make a clean break and speak up for what you really desire, whatever love is left causes them to stay together, to stay miserable, to tear each other apart, long after the point from when they should have moved on.

It’s a beautiful song, in all its poignancy. And it’s got a great 1980s sound.

When routine bites hard
And ambitions are low
And resentment rides high
But emotions won’t grow
And we’re changing our ways, taking different roads

Then love, love will tear us apart again
Love, love will tear us apart again

Why is the bedroom so cold?
You’ve turned away on your side
Is my timing that flawed?
Our respect runs so dry
Yet there’s still this appeal
That we’ve kept through our lives

But love, love will tear us apart again
Love, love will tear us apart again

You cry out in your sleep
All my failings exposed
And there’s a taste in my mouth
As desperation takes hold
Just that something so good just can’t function no more

But love, love will tear us apart again
Love, love will tear us apart again
Love, love will tear us apart again
Love, love will tear us apart again

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