Thursday, December 6, 2018

Sadness, Fun, Frustration, Release

RIP Pete Shelley, who died of a heart attack today. He was 63. The Buzzcocks' early, careening singles—"Orgasm Addict," "What Do I Get?," "I Don't Mind," "Love You More," "Ever Fallen in Love (With Someone You Shouldn't've)," "Promises," "Lipstick," "Everybody's Happy Nowadays"—with their rocking, pent-up mania and hilariously chaotic chord changes against singalong melodies, all under two minutes, give or take—sounded like the aural equivalent of adolescence. Shelley came close to rock and roll perfection a remarkable number of times but, to my ears, never as close as he got here, the middle eight of which ("I only get sleepless nights...") remains one of my favorites, and in its simplicity, ferocity, and liberation is so powerful as to be beyond language to express. I've written about this song so many times because it remains remarkably fresh. One of the great rock and roll songs of the era, if not of all time: sadness, fun, frustration, and release. Repeat.
I just want a lover like any other, what do I get?
I only want a friend who will stay to the end, what do I get?
What do I get, oh-oh, what do I get?

I'm in distress, I need a caress, what do I get?
I'm not on the make, I just need a break, what do I get?
What do I get, oh-oh, what do I get?

I only get sleepless nights
Alone here in my half-empty bed
For you things, seem to turn out right
I wish they'd only happen to me instead
What do I get, oh-oh, what do I get?
I just want a lover like any other, what do I get?
I only want a friend who will love to the end, what do I get?
What do I get, oh-oh, what do I get?
I get no love
I get no sleep at nights
I get nothing that's nice
I get nothing at all, at all, at all, at all
At all, at all, at all, at all 'cause I don't get you

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