Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
We seem to wonder about love a lot, don't we? It's a real sticky thing. It's a conundrum that we can never get around and one of the most oft-wondered wonderings about the subject is what turns it on and what turns it off. The sub-question associated with that is what directs the feeling toward any one particular other person - why does that person love that person? What can he or she possibly see in that other person? We don't see it. We might never see it. It boggles and distracts us, makes us angry sometimes, makes us full-belly laugh other times, all depending if we're on the right or wrong side of the glass, looking in or looking out at the birds. Richard Edwards, the lead singer and songwriter for the Indianapolis-based Margot & The Nuclear So and Sos, finds some of the most fascinating messes to write about. These messes are often of a cursed nature, two people trying to make love work when love is trying to repel itself from being in the middle of the two people making all of the choices. It feels out of place and yet Edwards never forgets that the intentions of those fucked up or banged up people doing their best to make it work are actually in the right place and even when the circumstances are less than ideal, the effort of forcing the matter can only hurt so much. Most of all, love tries not to hurt. It really does. It does what it can to not fail, or at least not fail so immediately.
We appreciate the stories that Edwards writes for their romantic take on the dark side of romanticism. They are cautionary tales of the neediness of humans when they're seeking love, grappling with it and questioning it. One of the songs that demonstrates the wrecked premise of the love that Margot songs propose is the up-to-now rare b-side, "A Journalist Falls In Love With Death Row Inmate #16," a first-person song about a woman falling in love with a killer awaiting his sentence to be carried out. Edwards sings, "He wrote me letters daily from prison that said/I know I've killed a few/But none of those women were you." It's a song that suggests that there has been rehabilitation or that this murderer has never known a love like the one that he finds in this pen pal, a woman whom we could peg as desperate and getting herself into something she shouldn't be. All of the red lights and alarms going off in her head can be whisked away with the naïve belief that, "Here's a man - finally the man - that loves her like no one ever has." He might be a killer, but what's more romantic than a killer telling you that he would never kill you. You're different. You make him feel differently than all of those wrong women. It is romantic and Margot & The Nuclear So and Sos are experts at these kinds of tales - the sacrifices that are made, the hopefulness that abounds - of love at all costs, especially in the face of such horrible odds. These are songs of full disclosure and of giving oneself over to the careless momentum of emotions.