I keep listening to “Stubborn Love” by The Lumineers. There is something softly poetic about that song. It is heartbreaking. And yet I definitely feel it from the soles of my feet to the top of my head, inside and out. That opening, the fiddle, the guitar, the soft drums, it reaches out putting an ache in your heart before the words even come. And then you hear the first words which evoke emotions that echo the music. The puzzle pieces twine together creating a response from the listener, a response that can remind even the most jovial person of a pain that touched them.
They say it is no good to dwell on the past, to live in a dark place, to remind oneself of it. But the beauty of this song is that it brings you to that dark space, and then it offers something encouraging. The last moments of the song are voices singing, “Keep your head up, my love. Head up, love. Head up, love.” They paint a picture of absolute emotional demolition, of unrequited love, the most painful kind, and then impose a parting message that leaves you looking for a light in that desolate place. The song advocates living beyond the veil, of taking chances, of moving forward in the face of difficult things (“I can’t be told…it can’t be done.”).
“She’ll lie and steal and cheat, and beg you from her knees, make you think she needs it this time. She’ll tear a hole in you, the one you can’t repair, but I still love her, I don’t really care. When we were young, ohhh, we did enough. When it got cold, ooooh, we bundled up. I can’t be told, ahhhh, it can’t be done. It’s better to feel pain than nothing at all. The opposite of love is indifference. So pay attention now, I’m standing on your porch screaming out and I won’t leave until you come downstairs. So keep your head up, keep your love, keep your head up, my love, keep your head up, keep your love, keep your head up, keep your love. And I don’t blame you for running like you did all these years, I would do the same you best believe. The highway signs say we’re close, but I don’t read those things anymore, I never trusted my own eyes. When we were young, ohhh, we did enough. When it got cold, oooooh, we bundled up. I can’t be told, ahhh, it can’t be done. Keep your head up, keep your love. Keep your head up, my love. Keep your head up, my love. Keep your head up, keep your love. Keep your head up, my love, keep your head up, my love. Head up, love. Head up, love.”