Letters of Life

Blast from the Past: 10cc

Scroll down the page and hit the ‘play’ button please. Thanks.

I want to share this song, an old favourite, for the simple reason that I think it’s brilliantly written.

I’m not in love So don’t forget it
It’s just a silly phase I’m going through
And just because I call you up
Don’t get me wrong, don’t think you’ve got it made
I’m not in love, no no, it’s because…

I like to see you But then again
That doesn’t mean you mean that much to me
So if I call you Don’t make a fuss
Don’t tell your friends about the two of us
I’m not in love, no no, it’s because…

I keep your picture Upon the wall
It hides a nasty stain that’s lying there
So don’t you ask me To give it back
I know you know it doesn’t mean that much to me
I’m not in love, no no, it’s because…

Ooh you’ll wait a long time for me. . .

I’m Not in Love, by 10cc (1975) might be an old old song, but it’s haunting, and the lyrics are so clever, they say the exact opposite of what’s going on.  It’s kinda Asian in a way, where ‘no’ means ‘yes’, and people wear masks to hide their true feelings.

This song was given a new sound in the 1990s by Will to Power in a more R&B style, and also by The Pretenders, with Chrissy Hynde bringing new depth and soul to the song. I saw an interview of 10cc which described how that rich backing choir of hundreds was created. Apparently, the vocals of three band members were recorded in multiple pitches and layered over each other. Against that wall of sound, the subtleties of the music and lyrics formed to create an unforgettable song. Whenever I hear I’m Not in Love, that ‘choir’ sound and laidback vibe brings me to another time and place, and the words create a distance that is merely a mirage between the singer and the listener. It’s romantic to the core.

The phrase “I’m not in love” is said at least four times, but its obvious he’s anything but.

In an interview, one of the songwriters, Eric Stewart (lead vocals), said that his wife once asked him, “Why don’t you say ‘I love you’ more often?” And he said that if he did, those precious words would become as ordinary as “Hello, how are you?” And the minute he said that, he realized there could be an interesting twist to the sentiment: “I’m not in love with you, but I’m completely obsessed by you.”

And for the thousands of fans who love this song, it’s about all kinds of lovely memories of past loves and times in their lives when they were young and idealistic and passionate about a lot of things. What do I remember? All of the above.

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