Love has confounded, confused, and consternated the world’s greatest poets down through the ages. Ancient cave drawings depict hunters bringing food to their little honey back at the grotto. The earliest artifacts known to mankind are fertility totems such as the Venus of Willendorf . From Shakespeare’s earliest sonnets to Taylor Swift’s latest flame-outs, love’s mystifying ways are laboured over with analytical acuity surpassing any other subject, no matter its popularity — sorry, Pro Football and Women’s Shoes.
Love is the focal-point of every moment in our waking lives, whether we are aware of it or not. The poets knew, of course, for love has played muse to countless and uncounted lyrical flights of fancy, and not-so-fancy. Even so, it is the most elusive of subjects, evading the grasp of so many would-be giants of literature. It is simultaneously secular and sacred. It’s evident in a child’s first gaze, and it’s invariably cited in the eulogy after that child has grown, lived a full life, and passed from this mortal coil.
The extent of our love defines us. Which brings me around to the subject of today’s featured song.
Michael Jaimes wrote Native’s purest ode to the venerable subject of love somewhere around 1995. Just Want To Love You was first performed on a demo recorded at the infamous Marmfington Farm Studio in that year, and my chief memory of the occasion was how simple, stark, and direct it was in dealing with this most universal and pervasive of subjects. It became a tentpole in our setlists from that day forward. It even migrated into the repertory of later bands in which Mike played, like Spacebar.
Native had many songs that dealt with love, but it was always in the context of circumstances arising from the emotion, the detritus of love, if you will. It’s not an uncommon occurrence for a lyricist to write of love in such roundabout ways, indeed in rock music it’s the more likely route. After all, the definition of corny is found in love songs, and no self-respecting rock star wants to ever be on the same planet as corny.
But, Mike just dealt with it head-on. I found it very brave. He says what he will do, and will not do in love. And in that simple act, he defines his own very essence, for how we love is who we are.