The Charlatans – Intimacy (2010)
from the album “Who We Touch”.
Who here has been in a long-term relationship, spanning years and years, maybe even decades? Where you kind of get to the point where you know everything about each other so well that you’re actually sick of each other and know exactly how the other person will respond and react to things – and you hate it. You’ve ended up taking them for granted, you think you know what they’re all about, and you’re sick of it. You’ve reached that point in your relationship that you didn’t want to reach – the point all other couples seem to inevitably get to, the couples you used to point and look at and say “don’t let us ever become that”.
Well, you’re it now. You’re older, maybe even old. Maybe you should break up, you’re certainly thinking about it – but you don’t. Somehow, even though it mostly just plainly sucks – you’ve grown so accustomed to each other that you can’t even imagine being without them. It’s like that old saying, “you can’t live with them, you can’t live without them”.
This is a later period song from madchester band The Charlatans, from what I’d like to call their “adult period”. The baggy pants of brit pop are left behind a long time ago, and The Charlatans, just like the rest of us, find themselves bored in their suburban home with 3,5 kids, wife and a white picket fence around their house, and they are, just like us, pondering about the meaning of it all. How did we get here? How did we end up like this? We thought we’d never get old, just like the generation before us, and the generation before that..
In this bass-driven slow number, with the vocals of Tim Burgess, we find ourselves in the middle of this, as he very smoothly explains and guides us through it;
“I want to be closer to you,
And when I do you don’t want me to
You just want me to join the queue
And when I do, you don’t let me through
It’s all down to our intimacy..”
It’s a situation where Tim and his partner has been oh, so many times before. They both know their roles, they both know what to say, they’re sort of just repeating themselves again and again, they know what’s expected of them by now. It’s just their intimacy.
“I don’t want to do what others do
It’s up to me to pull us through
It’s just part of our intimacy..”
So, a part of this is also one side of the couple feeling like he/she could still save this. That we’re not quite there yet, we’re not quite as bad as the rest of them yet, there’s still a chance for us. All our quarrels are, after all, just a part of our intimacy.
And suddenly, the song breaks up from its mellow, chilled out mode into a bit of sunshine and joyousness, as Burgess raises the bar and explodes into;
“Today I saw you smile, I saw you smile again
Today I saw your love, I saw you try again
It’s all down to our intimacy..”
See? I told you. They still have a chance. Tim, or the protagonist of the song, is still trying, and still succeeding, to find his way back into the relationship, back to their intimacy. He knows it’s all part of how it just is between the two of them, it’s how they work, and as long as he can still find that smile again, and see that his partner is trying, he’ll find his comfort in knowing it’s all down to their intimacy.
(yeah, I seriously could not find a better video of this song from youtube, why do I keep choosing songs that aren’t on there? I urge you to listen to the studio version on Spotify!)