My Gothy Valentine
For your Valentine’s Day pleasure, allow me to unload unto you a classic-yet-underrated slab of late 20th Century goth romantic mopery: “Stand Inside Your Love,” by The Smashing Pumpkins:
This is actually one of my favorite Smashing Pumpkins songs, because for as much as Billy Corgan is an object lesson in how overcompensating neurotic self-importance can kill, this song is, sonically and lyrically, a flat-out brilliant distillation of everything it means to be adolescent, emotionally inexperienced, and so much fucking in love with someone you don’t know whether to laugh maniacally or blow your own head off. Read the lyrics; they couldn’t be more siphoned out of a teen bipolar’s hidden poetry Moleskine if they tried. Seriously, it’s like Corgan snuck into the room of a kohl-loving 15-year-old cutter and inserted a neural shunt straight into her brain.
Now, maybe you have to have been on the giving end of a massively unrequited crush as a sophomore to have this work for you (ahem), but if you were, pow, it’s all there. I can easily see some kid in 2000 scribbling these lyrics into a Valentine’s Day card for their Eternal Beloved — and then, of course, having said EB say “oh, that’s so sweet,” and then turn around and go out on a date with someone else who totally does not appreciate how magnificently awesome and special they are.
No, I’m not bitter.
( If you’re wondering what lyrics I actually did put into that card when I was fifteen, go here. A slightly more optimistic choice than the song featured above, yes, but then I never really could carry off the goth thing. Alas.)
Another reason to love the song: Excellent use of the subjunctive.
That said, the video itself if an indication of why the song was not more popular than it was; by the time it came out (on Machina/The Machines of God), the Pumpkins had fallen down a well of ridiculously pompous prog-gothery and they wouldn’t be getting back up again. Don’t get me wrong, I love me my German expressionism, Wilde and Beardsley as much as the next totally heterosexual guy (totally! Seriously!), but after a certain point someone needed to pull Corgan aside and say, “dude, stop huffing your own fumes.” Before this video was made would have been good. But the video does remind me that Melissa Auf der Maur makes my ventricles spasm in a happy, happy way. So there’s a silver lining for me.
In any event, enjoy your Valentine’s Day, gothy or otherwise.