Listen to this track by seneschal of eccentric pop, and left-of center singer-songwriter Robyn Hitchcock. It’s “Daisy Bomb”, as taken from his 2000 album A Star For Bram, which was something of a twin to 1999’s Jewels For Sophia, given that the two records came out of the same sessions.
For all of his eccentricities where writing pop lyrics go, Hitchcock can write love songs with the best of them. And this is certainly one, although of course even here he escapes the cliches of typical love songs just by repositioning what love actually means beyond a simple pop song sentiment. Here, love isn’t just a gooey feeling. In this song, it has elements of danger, all wrapped in a wistful folk-rock package.
His approach here on this song is about connecting with his own unique route to love, or at least in expressing it. Even with the non-traditional approach to lyric writing, Hitchcock is still writing for an audience, providing a fresh vocabularly to the whole business of being in love. That’s what artists do.
But, how does he do that, exactly?
Coupled with “I love you inside and out, and upside down” and “sometimes a kiss is not enough” are very Hitchockian images and comparisons in “I love you like a bomb in my heart”, and the very idea of love as a big, colourful, and even violent explosion. This of course says a lot about how one can approach love – as something that is both beautiful and disruptive at the same time.
In some ways, this record as a whole is a sentimental record, relatively speaking. As such, it’s as close to an album of “personal songs” perhaps as we’ve likely seen so far from him. In many ways, this was the warmer, more down to earth record that offsets the more thematically out there, although no less excellent, Jewels For Sophia.
That latter album was released on Warner, his last record on a major. A Star For Bram was released shortly after, on Hitchcock’s own label, with the expectations of what can be considered an outtakes album completely subeverted by how cohesive it is. Where the songs about food, airports, Buzz Aldren, and insects made JFS such a odd, but endearing album, a song like “Daisy Bomb” reminds us that Hitchcock still has a handle on subject matter that listeners can relate to in a more direct way – love and relationships. But, as the best artists do, his take on them is singular, and challenging. The love spoken of in this song is deep, but it’s not safe by any stretch.
Love is in fact something overwhelming, and not to be controlled. It’s a bright, colourful bomb in your heart!
For more information about Robyn Hitchcock, check out Robynhitchcock.com
And if you’re looking to dip your toe into Hitchcockian waters, you’re in luck! His first ‘best of’ is just out for the first time and exclusive to the Internet too. You can go to Yep Roc Records, read about, and download Robyn Hitchcock Chronology. The album covers his days with The Soft Boys, and traces a path up until the 2009 Goodnight Oslo album.