Two on Tuesday: Lava and less than Lava

Two on Tuesday is a nascent attempt at regular blogging, by writing about two songs that are linked in some way, at least in the mind of the writer.

Enough has been written about love and music, so I won’t bother with any general comments. You all know the food of love, etc. In the pie chart of music, songs about love, in one form or another, make up a generous slice, and I can’t begin to guess what the flavor of that slice is like. But these two songs, “Volcano” by Yossy Little Noise Weaver, and “Less than Lovers, More than Friends,” by Hoahio, are about love. Love as a passionate rush of heat, and love as a hole in your jacket letting in the cold air. No one, especially a music blogger, needs to tell this to anybody, but love is many things. At least as many things as music is.

“Volcano” bubbles with a rarefied excitement. The song is obviously(well, obvious in so far as that is my first and current understanding of the song’s lyrics) about passion, volcanic passion even, but cools itself with a smooth bassline and sonic accoutrements that never spill over into a frenzy. The singer, the eponymous Yossy, corrals it all with her voice, almost matter-of-factly singing about volcanoes exploding and how it’s a wonderful world. Of course it’s wonderful: we have music like this in it. Despite the seeming disconnect between tone and content, the song does indeed wash over you, and from the opening bars compels at least a head bob or two hundred. It’s a song about love, sure, but like many songs about love, it’s also about dancing.

The other side of love is heartache, but Hoahio’s song presents a special case: the confusion and occasional thrill of what is an in-between kind of love. A windy electronic sweep ushers in the mood of the song, and it’s cold but pulsing. It’s joined by a low, strummed guitar, before Haco, the lead singer and lyricist of the song, sings the refrain. Less than lovers, more than friends. It’s an awkward place to find yourself, but at least it has warmth, and it can also light up some darkened corners of your emotional map. I think this song makes a celebration of this situation in the crystalline sparks, the playful humming, and the lilting non-lexical vocalizations of Hoahio. It’s akin to jazz, the voices and electronic sounds riffing on the simple chord progression of the song, adding emotions and textures that are unexpected, and welcoming in new branches shooting off of familiar ideas.

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