When I was little, my mom used to do that cliche thing — clean the house on Sundays and play oldies. I loved it — mostly, because for a long time she didn’t make me help because I only got in the way — but also for the music. She’d play her favorites from the Motown era: Beautiful, soulful music from the likes of Al Green, Marvin Gaye, The Miracles, Smokey Robinson, and The Temptations. These songs became the soundtrack of my childhood. Seemingly every Sunday it felt like I was transported back to one of those scenes from A Bronx Tale or The Sandlot, from an era long before me when things were simpler and cars were bigger.
One of her favorites was The Stylistics “Break Up To Make Up,” a song I wouldn’t understand for at least decade, though I’d loved it for seemingly all my life. When you’re little it sounds simple enough, it’s fun to sing along with and part of you understands that it’s quality music. When you’re older? You scratch below the surface and the song resonates. You realize they were right, love is a game for fools. Love hurts, it’s up and down, it’s messy and never how it’s portrayed in movies or on the sappy songs. It’s not perfect, it’s static and frenetic, whooshing you in every direction possible. A calm stasis in love is generally bad news, someone is bored, something is wrong and probably fatally so. Love is weird like that.
You know the old adage: They just don’t make ’em like that anymore.