Your Place and Mine Playlist: A Close Reading of Song Lyrics

‘Your Place and Mine’ by Nicci French is a short story written for the Penguin Books project, ‘We Tell Stories’, which was released in 2008. The story follows the relationship of Terry and Laurence (Larry), colleagues who enter into a relationship. The format shows both Terry and Laurence’s point of views of their time together, with Terry becoming quickly obsessed and in love with Larry, and him having a casual discussion with an unknown character at a bar. It is clear from the start that Terry has a habit of falling hard for a man she hardly knows, as she mentions her last love, Rob, throughout the story (2-5). The story is divided among five days, ending with what seems like a friendly break up, but later relieving a clue as to what really happened between Terry and Larry (5).

I chose to create a playlist to further portray their difference in feelings through songs. When I was thinking about what would fit best and listening to songs, I made my choices based on lyrics, rather than the tone or rhythm.

The following is the link to my Spotify playlist.

I wanted to just briefly point out the key lyrics in each song and explain why I think they fit with this story so well, based upon my own close readings of each.

New Love: Maroon 5

“I’ll be your sun and your moon tonight
I can be whatever you like
I was alone but I’m ready to feel
I wanna show you my feelings are real, yeah”

“What the f*ck, I got nothing to lose
I’m a slave to the way that you move”

I chose this song because the title is an indication to the start of the story and the new relationship Laurence and Terry are beginning. In particular, each stanza that I chose represents Terry’s side and Laurence’s side. The first is Terry’s, as she is very excited when Larry strikes up conversation with her, claiming she knew “something was going to happen” and she had “caught the glances and sideways looks” (1). Meanwhile, Larry has a much more casual approach, as he “suddenly thought ‘well why not?'”, also noting that he had noticed her looks mostly, which is well summarized in the second stanza.

Tiny Vessels: Death Cab for Cutie

“This is the moment that you know
That you told her that you loved her but you don’t.
You touch her skin and then you think
That she is beautiful but she don’t mean a thing to me

(…)

Wanted to believe in all the words that I was speaking
As we moved together in the dark”

This next song I chose for when Laurence is enjoying his time with Terry but he is viewing it as much more casual than she is. When she buys him two mugs and a cafetiere, she takes his silence for emotion, while he is actually internally freaking out (3). He admits he thinks she is “quite interesting-looking” and comments on her being slim except for her breasts, which relates to the 4th and 5th line of the stanza I selected (1). He does not stop her advances either, making love with her on more than one occasion, which I think relates well to the phrase,
“Wanted to believe in all the words that I was speaking
As we moved together in the dark”.

He’s Just Not That Into You: Kalie Shorr

“(…) he says he doesn’t want something serious
And you tell yourself you like that he’s mysterious
He’s just busy, on-the-go and his stupid phone is broken
And you say it till it almost sounds true
But he’s just not that into you
He’s not that into you”

I picked this song to illustrate when Terry is growing more and more obsessed with Larry, spying on him and spotting him with another woman (3). While she may not have a revolution herself, I picked this song to add in a much needed  ‘wake up call’ moment for her, when a woman may need to realize that sometimes a guy is just not as into you as you are into them.

Going Through the Motions: Kansas

“And is your day just a reflection of the day before?
Don’t you ever stop and wonder if there’s something more?
Do you really mean to tell me that you’re satisfied?
Are you for real or are you going through the motions?

Heresay, theresay
Everything is fine
Are you running out of time?
Going through the motions”

This next song I chose to portray the moment Laurence is living in as he is speaking. It is assumed he is at a bar of some kind with a friend or colleague, with whom he is discussing his time with Terry. He is at that same place over the five days, showing his life is in a routine, with him even saying that he feels like he is “just drifting” and that his job is “not what (he) planned for (himself)” (4). The lyrics say ‘do you really mean to tell me that you’re satisfied?’ and it’s clear from those previous comments that he’s not, and for him right now, even “Terry is part of that drift” (4).

I Don’t Know How To Love Him: Yvonne Elliman

“I don’t know how to take this
I don’t see why he moves me
He’s a man. He’s just a man
And I’ve had so many men before
In very many ways
He’s just one more”

I chose this song because Terry specifically references it during day five, when she says she will “forgive him for being unfaithful to (her)” (5). She claims that he strayed from her because “it’s like in the song: he’s just a man”, and so I set out to find this song and it actually fit very well with how Terry acts with men (5). She seems to love a man until he hurts her, then disposes of him quickly, as the article at the end of day five shows (5).

You Oughta Know: Alanis Morissette

“’cause the love that you gave that we made wasn’t able
To make it enough for you to be open wide, no”

“And I’m here to remind you
Of the mess you left when you went away
It’s not fair to deny me
Of the cross I bear that you gave to me
You, you, you oughta know”

I added this one as the final song, because it is a song of anger and revenge.
I found it humorous with the lyrics,
“And I’m here to remind you
Of the mess you left when you went away”,
because, while this song is meaning figuratively, this can be applied both figuratively and literally to the story. After she disposes of Larry, Terry spends time “(washing) all the sheets to get rid of his smell, and (burning) the sweatshirt that he left behind”, either to cover her tracks, to symbolize that she is done with him or both (5).

I chose all these songs to illustrate specific moments throughout Terry and Larry’s relationship, beginning with the excitement of new love, right through to its morbid downfall, and I think this added a cool element to the story. Adding an accompanying digital element to a story can help bring it to life in a new way, and I hope my playlist was able to somewhat contribute.

Works Cited:

French, N. “Your Place and Mine”. We Tell Stories, Penguin Books, http://www.wetellstories.co.uk/stories/week4/about/. Accessed on 25 Mar. 2017.

Elliman, Y. “I Don’t Know How To Love Him” DATE.  Jesus Christ Superstar. By Webber, A.L., Rice, T. Universal Music Publishing Group. Lyrics accessed from http://www.metrolyrics.com/i-dont-know-how-to-love-him-lyrics-yvonne-elliman.html. Accessed on 26 Mar. 2017.

Death Cab for Cutie. “Tiny Vessels” 2003. Trasatlanticism. By Gibbard, B., Harmer, N. Munich Records. Lyrics Accessed from http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/deathcabforcutie/tinyvessels.html. Accessed on 26 Mar. 2017.

Maroon 5. “New Love” 2014. V. By Levine, A.,  Redder, R., Zancanella, N. Interscope Records. Lyrics Accessed from http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/maroon5/newlove.html. Accessed on 26 Mar. 2017.

Morissette, A. “You Oughta Know” 1995. Jagged Little Pill. By Morissette, A. Maverick Recording Company. Lyrics Accessed from http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/alanismorissette/yououghtaknow.html. Accessed on 26 Mar. 2017.

Kansas. “Going Through the Motions” 1983. Drastic Measures. By Elefante, D., Elefante, J. CBS Records International. Lyrics Accessed from http://www.metrolyrics.com/going-through-the-motions-lyrics-kansas.html. Accessed on 26 Mar. 2017.

Shorr, K. “He’s Just Not That Into You” 2016. Single. By Reid, E., Stone, L. Unknown. Lyrics Accessed from http://kalieupdates.tumblr.com/post/151168543704/hes-just-not-that-into-you-lyrics. Accessed on 26 Mar. 2017.

 

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