I got quite a start, reading the track listing for Glasvegas’ new album on Wikipedia the other week. I mean, I’d already had a bit of a start earlier in the year when the album was announced and I saw the typography of its title, EUPHORIC /// HEARTBREAK \\\. But I wasn’t quite prepared to learn that track 6 was called Stronger Than Dirt (Homosexuality, Pt. 2) and that track 8 was called I Feel Wrong (Homosexuality, Pt. 1).
Readers, it’s not Part 1 coming after Part 2 that was bothering me. I’ve been enjoying time-travel fiction, non-linear narratives and wanky albums for far too long for that to be a problem. It was the trepidation of wondering how exactly these noisy NME favourites were planning to address “the gay question”. I heard that frontman James Allan had written the songs to try to imagine life from a gay perspective, and from the song titles alone, everything seemed hilariously misjudged.
But I have a soft spot for Glasvegas and their overwrought epics. I like the way they combine a tough-guys-who-can-still-cry aesthetic with that hang-on-i-left-the-guitars-in-the-aircraft-hangar style. And it’s not as though James hasn’t already shown us he likes jumping into other people’s points of view, with a song from the perspective of a lady social worker on the first album, and one through the eyes of a disenchanted wife on their Christmas EP. Let’s give them a chance, I thought, as the album, er, came out.
Oh and his intentions are great, by the way. Here’s a recent interview in which he tells homophobes to ‘wake up for fuck’s sake!’. Anyone challenging homophobia is alright by me. But I reserve the right to laugh at the lyrics.
Part 2: Stronger Than Dirt
Tougher than tough, toughest when we are together
Thoughts of me and you forever, the rest can go to hell
Yeah I’m lost, but so are you
Just like little lost lambs us two
Here, James starts well with a refusal to identify the idea of being gay with that of being a victim. Yes! We can still be tough! And people who don’t like our sexuality can fuck off! But then, moments later we’re lost. Oh.
They say we’re sordid, ’cause the way we walk and talk and flirt
They say we’re dirty I’m stronger than dirt
Sordid’s a good word isn’t it. And people do say that sort of thing. But stronger than dirt? Really James? I can think of brighter comparisons, and ones less likely to make your straight fans speculate about the muddy truths that ‘uphill gardening’ involves. Oh, but it had to rhyme, yes, yes I get you. In which case: “They say we’re dirty, I say let’s conga with Bert”.
Absolutely novice, we’re absolutely new to us
No less if we are not his ‘n’ hers, our love is as valid as their love is
I’m going on… can we stay together? Is it me and you forever? Can the rest all go to hell?
If you’ve been affected by the triteness of these lyrics, call our helpline on – shit, I haven’t got a helpline. If you are a young gay person worrying or wondering about your sexuality, and you somehow ended up reading this post because of Glasvegas, Stonewall is a good online resource to get stuck into.
Part 1: I Feel Wrong
Confused desires since my teenage years, I’m the same homo my family fears
For my blue eyed boy there’s a long distance longing, my behind closed doors fantasies going on
And I feel wrong
I quite like ‘homo’ as a pejorative word for myself. It’s short, descriptive and to the point. As for a longing for your blue eyed boy, though, does anyone really say that any more? We’ve ventured into Doris Day territory here, haven’t we? Oh, I see. Yes, alright, you can have that then.
Forgive me father for I have sinned,
I must confess it’s brothers with my eyes that I undress
Once a day I think about killing myself I can’t carry on
I must be strong even though it hurts as I sing this song
That I feel wrong
And I feel wrong
I think I get why Part 1 was put after Part 2, now. Because this one’s so depressing that you might not make it to the end of the album if you heard it first. It sounds nice, though. “Ultravox’s ‘Vienna’-by-way-of-Cocteau Twins”, the NME’s entertainingly overcooked album review has it. I’m not sure I heard any of that myself, more East 17’s Stay Another Day by way of Aerosmith perhaps.
God it’s only love, it’s only love
God how long will this go on?
God for how long will I feel wrong?
And I feel wrong, and I feel wrong
I feel wrong, and I feel wrong
It’s not the most inspirational note to close the Homosexuality saga on, is it? It’s not exactly It Gets Better. But you know what, for all the sarcastic sniping in this post, I really can’t fault him for trying. /// CHEERS JAMES ALLAN \\\