Back in ’94, my 15 year old self was no stranger to heavy music. But what my 15 year old self did not know was that heavy music could simultaneously be melodic and gentle – that is until I heard “Blue Collar Love”. Those guitar chords are as deep as the ocean but smooth, without the rough edges you hear in metal. Even the screeching guitar feedback seems melodic. Who can pull off such wizardry?
JM’s velvet vocals, soft and forlorn, weave in and out of those watery depths of the guitar and bass. All together, it is enough to put a girl into a trance state. All this water imagery coming to mind makes me wonder if JM is a Pisces because that’s how those Pisceans work.
The lyrics are impressionistic at best, as most of JM’s early writing was. All that we really have to go on is a girl who takes it all and the saddest of boys left behind with “all the things [he’s] just not”.
It reminds me of Erich Fromm’s description of symbiotic love; love that is based on mutual need rather than mutual respect and concern. The need comes from a place of internal woundedness and a feeling of being incomplete. You use the other person as an object to fulfill your needs. I need the her because she fills the places that are empty in my soul. When she leaves and takes it all and I am left with the crushing void within. You know, that sort of thing.
Fromm says this: “Infantile love follows the principle: ‘I love because I am loved.’ Mature love follows the principle: ‘I am loved because I love.’ Immature love says: ‘I love you because I need you.’ Mature love says: ‘I need you because I love you.’ “
Did the saddest of boys really love her or did he just need her to distract him from all the things he’s just not? Now this song seems much more sinister, doesn’t it?