Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Patrick Stolley at Futureappletree Too
The man in Jillette Johnson's song, "Pauvre Coeur" is somewhat like the man in Lana Del Rey's "Video Games." It's the woman who's most different. The man is a self-centered and ungrateful son of a bitch. He's a guy who's worried about himself, having the pretty girl secure and at his hip and very little else. He doesn't nurture the relationship, but he possesses it. He might have at one time coveted the woman - who can't seem to help but feel attached to the thing that she thinks she loves/to the thing that she thought she once had a reason for loving - but he's done with making too much effort. Del Rey's male protagonist opens up a beer, orders his woman around and sits around playing video games, while she just daydreams her way through the remembrances of what drew her to him in the first place. Somehow, those memories are sustainable and they allow her to put up with the listlessness in the romance, or what passes for romance.
The man in Johnson's song is a guy that she walks in on, while he's watching televised poker (a bad sign already) and he's screaming at the TV set, "Make a play you filthy whore." It's an interesting character who will shout such a thing at a television. She's invisible to him - to this man who has a hold on her still, in spite of all of his shortcomings. She admits to being somewhat enamored by his pain, but now realizes that it's nothing to build off of. She takes desperate measures to try to get him to give of himself to her. She takes all of her clothes off. She opens a bottle of wine and she lies down in front of him and tells him that he can do whatever he wants with her. She wants him to. We're pretty certain that he does nothing - that he continues to watch poker and commentating about the hands dealt. The woman finally understands that she's too beautiful to be his. It just took her too long to finally see that.