A funny thing happens when you learn a new word: you start seeing it everywhere. Maybe you simply didn’t notice it before, sandwiched between more familiar parables and phrases, or maybe you’re just on the look out.
When I decided to thumb through Sarah Jaffe’s discography, on a spree of sporadic clicking through Spotify, I didn’t expect to stumble across this song called “Limerence.” What a beautiful word. What a strange, invented sound, like something from a dreamworld with unicorns and castles and magic. And what it means is even stranger and sweeter and somehow frightening: euphoric love to the point of obsession, the barely-believed diagnosis of being literally crazy in love.
After stumbling across it on Wikipedia late one night, I thought about using the word as a song title for like a second. Then I realized I don’t really title songs, and if I did, whatever I had to say might almost be overtaken by the word and its mystery, its heavy psycho-academic connotations. I would not want to fail to give it justice with something as silly as little love songs (though really, that feeling is all, you could say, they’re about). And what’s a good title if the content is not there to back it up? Not much at all. So, how fitting tonight, then, to stumble across Sarah Jaffe’s track 11 on “The Body Wins,” wonder how she tackled it, and then to click on it and find: it is an instrumental! Her version of limerence is a piano-led, spatial symphony of contrast and suspension, of delay and momentum and echo and anodyne vocals, one where the sound does all the talking and the title suggests all it needs to say. Simple, but in a way that dives deep, and a curious reminder that sometimes, you get to a point where words won’t do anymore.