Educating Peter # 48

May 19, 2013

In honour of the release of the thoroughly enjoyable Drink A Toast To Innocence: A Tribute To Lite Rock, Michael has sent me a song by Dan Fogelberg this week. The line “We drank a toast to innocence…” appears in Mr. Fogelberg’s “Same Old Lang Syne“. (Lyrics here.)

But that’s not what I’m listening to this week. No sir. This week it’s a Dan Fogelberg track I’m completely unfamiliar with.

Dan Fogelberg – “The Language Of Love (1984)

0:00-0:16 – Introduction Part 1. That opening guitar line sounds familiar. Have I heard it before?

0:16-0:32 – Introduction Part 2. I’m diggin’ it. Production- and playing-wise, it’s very West Coast. And I don’t mean the West Coast of Scotland, or Africa, or even the West Coast Eagles Football Club.

By the way, I’d like to point out the arpeggiated chord progression from 0:28-0:30, leading into the verse. I’ve always adored that chord progression, ever since I first heard The Beatles do it.

0:32-1:03 – Verse. Very West Coast. Very Soft Rock. I like it.

I’m extremely pleased that Dan decided to insert that chord progression (see above) at regular intervals in the verse. Yum.

1:03-1:19 – A little instrumental interlude (same as Introduction Part 1). With cowbell. Which automatically reminded me of this.

1:19-1:50 – Another verse. I hope a chorus is going to come along sometime soon, because I’m starting to get the feeling that this is song is going nowhere fast.

1:50-2:10 – A very nice chord to begin this refrain/bridge/section-leading-up-to-the-chorus. And a nice West-Coast, non-Thin-Lizzy twin-guitar part from 1:56-1:58.

2:10-2:25 – Oh. It’s another verse. Now that I think of it, maybe the bit at the end of each verse, where the whizzo chord progression prompts Dan to sing “Speaks the true language of love” here (2:21-2:25) or “Such is the language of love” elsewhere (0:44-0:47, 1:00-1:03 etc.) is the chorus. Who knows? (Not me, because I didn’t write the song.)

2:25-2:41 – A guitar solo. Although I’m enjoying the song overall, I’m not liking this guitar solo much. (As young people like to say nowadays: “It’s not doin’ it for me.” I’m reluctant to use that phrase, though, because I haven’t been able to figure out what “it” is.)

2:41-3:00 – Here’s that nice bit before the chorus again. Except that it isn’t before the chorus, because this song doesn’t appear to have a chorus.

3:00-3:19 – And another verse.

Incidentally, I’m mildly disturbed by hearing the opening line of the song again. Dan sings “She says no, when she means yes”. Given that in the last few decades it’s been pretty well established that when someone says “No”, what they’re actually saying is, er, “No”, I’m uncomfortable hearing that line.

Getting back into not-so-serious territory, I’d like to mention that I was surprised by Dan changing the vocal melody and phrasing at the end of this verse (3:15-3:19). It felt a bit odd to me, and I thought it was a bit pointless to diverge so markedly from what went before just for that moment. (Example of pointlessness: Picture Dan singing this song in concert, with his fans all singing along. Dan gets to the last time he’s going to sing “Such is the language of love” in the song. When he does, he alters the melody and phrasing. The crowd gets confused because they’re singing what they’ve always been singing, but Dan sang something else.)

3:19-3:45 – Back to Introduction Part 1, which lets me know that this song’s a-gonna finish soon. Unless that repeat of Introduction Part 1 indicates the whole thing is going to be played again, thereby making this song a 10-minute monster.

3:45 – Nope. It’s a 3:45 pussy cat.

***

Thanks, young Michael. I enjoyed “The Language Of Love”. Nowhere near enough to make me rethink my view of popular music in the 1980s, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.