tremble clef

Friday, February 02, 2007

Jamelia, "Love Me" (2006)

At first sight, "Love Me," a song that Jamelia foolishly decided to tuck away on the DVD single of "Something About You," seems like little more than a trifle. It's a big, dramatic, and impassioned piano ballad, but those merits also seem to be overshadowed by its lack of originality: increasing in intensity and loudness as it goes along, the song is stylistically very reminsicent of the work of Alicia Keys. Indeed, "If I Ain't Got You" may be the specific template, since Jamelia's track likewise tries to persuade a lover that she doesn't need any material evidence of love: "You don't have to lay down and die/Start changing your life/You don't have to give me the finest things/Money can buy/You don't have to promise the moon/To make my dreams come true /All you've got to do, is love me." In other words: some people want it all, but I don't want nothing at all, if it ain't you baby.

But there are a couple of things, both having to do with its lyric, that makes "Love Me" perhaps an even greater song than "If I Ain't Got You" (and the latter is great indeed). The first is the much more direct nature of the narration. For all of Alicia's emotion, her song nevertheless begins with an impersonal third-person address -- "Some people live for the fortune/Some people live just for the fame" -- before moving to the much more intimate "I." There's therefore a small part of "If I Ain't Got You" that feels ponderous, as if Alicia is pontificating and teaching the world about The Important Things To Do With True Love (an impression that unfortunately feels in line with her public persona). Jamelia's "Love Me" in contrast goes straight for the kill: "You say I'm hard to please/Believe me I'm not." We're immediately in the heart of the relationship, in a you-and-I story that nevertheless feels like it could be about us.

But the bigger reason why I find "Love Me" so tremendously moving lies in one word that appears exactly one time in the song, and that word is "again." After a couple of verses and choruses, Jamelia sings a simple middle eight: "Love me, that's all I ask of you/Love me again." That one word suddenly casts the song in a different light: whereas before Jamelia had been laying out the facts -- telling him that she doesn't need anything more than just his love, in an effort, we thought, to seduce or, at worst, to keep him -- here we understand that she has actually been doing so to bring him back. Once he loved her; now she asks him to love her again. The song, we see from this moment, is from the perspective of loss, an attempt to negate it. Furthermore, in presenting to us this fuller picture only via this fleeting reference, Jamelia subtly hints at just how painful it is to remember what she's lost, and how hard it is even to admit the loss. She can barely look it in the face, just long enough to say: love me. Love me again.


  • I love Alicia, but she fahsioned herself a superstar (read: keep a distance) the moment she appeared in her first press piece.

    That AK is a huge star and Jamelia is not? Luck and knowing the right people.

    By Blogger xolondon, at 10:44 PM  

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