93. Song No. 1,079: “Black Hole” by Aqualung
Memory Man, 2007
…So love was not the answer
But maybe I misunderstood the question…
Holy shit, welcome to one of those times I relate entirely too hard to a sentiment and really wish I didn’t.
I wanted to gush about how the best Aqualung songs begin with this quiet intensity and build up to an emotional crescendo before riding that wave all the way out to the next song and, in this case, one of the best last foursomes of tunes an album ever boasted. (I highly advise treating yourself to the lush quartet of “Black Hole” in its natural state, accompanied by the jubilant “Outside,” the ruminating regret-in-retrospect of “Garden of Love” and its gobsmacking heartache, and ending with “Broken Bones” as additional proof that no one writes a devastating and perfect last track like Matt Hales does.)
But the glorious five minutes of “Black Hole” do even more than that, rising to meet the intensity of a reclamation fulfilled and the realization that there’s always a way, despite bearing a title that invokes a yawning chasm of no return. There is always a way out, a way toward resolution, a way to move on–whatever it is, you don’t have to be resigned to letting it swallow you whole.
I am a sucker for words and music that mesh in harmonious echo, and of course Matt Hales pulls that off like the absolute musical magician he is. Because, for real, no one knows how to build up to an explosive zenith like he does, and doing that with a song called “Black Hole” and its imagery rocketing from the birth to the spectacular death of a star is the bonus perfect union of lyrics and melody diving after and chasing each other in perfectly choreographed unison.
But, really, I love the palpable sense of being gobsmacked by thinking love is always enough to salvage anything, or that love looks the same way to two people. The idea that you can be someone’s sun but another’s all-consuming void is some self-awareness everyone can use because people aren’t monoliths and everyone needs something different to maintain a healthy, balanced relationship unique to the connection two individuals share. The message resonates well through the end of the album but it really packs a beautifully understated punch when the song is left to stand on its own merits.
And, I mean, it’s one of those songs you just HAVE to turn up halfway through and belt out the accompanying lyrics with the escalating intensity they deserve, much like the growing force of the titular phenomenon that can be as intellectually impenetrable as loving someone you’re perhaps not meant for can be.