“Love Defined” is a song about, well…love. It represents one of my first attempts to write a love song. But rather than just the usual “I-love-you-yes-I-do” boy-meets-girl scenario, I wanted to take a different tack on the traditional love song…perhaps even examine the very phenomenon of love itself.
Usually, when the topic of love is dealt with in song form, it’s all either a) chocolates and roses or b) utter despair. “Love Defined” also references those two familiar bookends, but besides also proposes the idea of forgiveness as (at least part of) the definition. That’s a very Christian idea.
(Incidentally, one motif for love I have is the idea that traits one would normally despise in people are somehow not just tolerated, but possibly even celebrated, when one is in love. Every nose-picking, bum-scratching, toilet-seat up-leaving trait that one exhibits…suddenly not just forgiven but considered quaint, even endearing. Defined negatively, you know when someone either doesn’t love you (or else has fallen out of love with you) when they visibly resent and comment upon your every foible. The original version of this song paid homage to that truth. But the sentiment didn’t survive into the final version. Note to self: maybe an idea for a subsequent track?)
The original was written in April 2013 about a girl I had a terrible crush on at work. That early version of the song turned out to be rather plodding (and the girl I question absolutely detested the original middle eight). So, I rewrote it in in December 2013, when I was at home recovering from a cold. I took the riff from the original verse and turned it into the riff underpinning the “What is love?” choruses. The rest came very quickly and naturally.
From a recording perspective, this was one of the most painful songs Joe and I ever recorded. It took forever (45 or so separate takes). Joe and I pride ourselves in the fact we have NEVER had a row in the 30+ years we have been best friends. But here we came close! Joe absolutely detested it (from take 30-45, especially vehemently and vocally!), but I saw something in it and wanted to persevere. Finally, after take 45, we gave it to Kevin (Paul, our producer) who mixed it into its current manifestation. And in so doing, breathed life into it.
Now – after all that heartache and of all ironies! – we BOTH absolutely love the track. One of our favourite The Third Space songs! A friend of mine named Jonathan Vaux described the song as “what it would sound like if Pink Floyd did doo-wop”. I take that as a compliment.