Song Meanings: Love in Itself

Perhaps one of my favorite songs from DM, it’s the first song that comes up in Construction Time Again (1983). Shall we look at the lyrics:

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[Verse 1]
All of these insurmountable tasks
That lay before me
All of the firsts and the definite lasts
That lay in store for me

[Chorus]
There was a time
When all on my mind was love
Now I find that most of the time
Love’s not enough in itself

[Verse 2]
Consequently, I’ve a tendency
To be unhappy, you see
The thoughts in my head, all the words that were said
All the blues and the reds get to me

[Chorus]
There was a time
When all on my mind was love
Now I find that most of the time
Love’s not enough in itself

[Interlude]

[Verse 3]
All of these absurdities
That lay before us
All of the doubts and the certainties
That lay in store for us

[Chorus]
There was a time
When all on my mind was love (love, love, love)
Now I find that most of the time
Love’s not enough in itself

[Source](https://genius.com/Depeche-mode-love-in-itself-lyrics)

​

Now, I first discovered this song once I was a teenager. I fell in love with the song. Though, I still interestingly I opposed the message of the song. I thought love what was all needed in a relationship. My whole idea of love was *really* idealistic. I believe the «insurmountable» tasks are the responsibilities of the relationship he never dreamed of occurring. «All of the firsts and the definite lasts» that are «in store» for him are the ‘firsts’ and the ‘lasts’ of events within the relationships that he may endure. Like for example, his first kiss and perhaps his last chance of this idealistic love his imagined.

​

«There was a time
When all on my mind was love
Now I find that most of the time
Love’s not enough in itself»

​

The man that DM describes, all in his mind was just the ideas of love. Y’know, like hand holding, physical affection, dates, candle lit dinners, this was all in his mind. He finds out that most of the time, «love» in itself is not enough. Love comes with a lot of responsibilities and duties. Something’s he’s never imagined that would actually occur within a relationship.

«Consequently, I’ve a tendency

To be unhappy, you see»

The relationship he’s in obviously isn’t working out for him. This idea of love he’s imagined isn’t coming to reality. Thus leaving him possibly depressed with the prospect of staying with his lover.

​

«The thoughts in my head, all the words that were said
All the blues and the reds get to me»

The «blues» which I think obviously refers to the downs of a relationship and the «reds» refers to when his relationship makes him feel happy. But as you can see, the relationship he’s in is giving him conflicting feelings. Most likely because what the ‘idealistic’ relationship he wanted did not come with the realities of what a relationship actually is.

​

The chorus then reiterates what is he discovers, that ‘love’ is simply not enough.

​

«All of these absurdities
That lay before us
All of the doubts and the certainties
That lay in store for us»

​

The man in question finds the discrepancies of what he thought the relationship *should* be to what the actual reality of what a relationship *actually is*. The relationship makes him doubt, it makes him contemplate of what a relationship actually is. Sure there are certainties within a relationship, but they come with doubts too.

​

The chorus sings one more time. Finalizing the conclusion of what the man has just realized. That love is not enough in itself.

I actually just realized the meaning of this song while contemplating about my past relationships. While relationships are important, I think a lot of people highly idealize of what a relationship is supposed to be. There’s more to love in a relationship, and that’s what my teenage self could not grasp. But now that I’m older, I can say that DM was right all long. This song is more tragic than many realize despite it’s upbeat tone. Now that my adult self *finally* realizes the message of the song after mindlessly listening to it for years. I can say this song holds a more special place in my heart now.

Feel free to let me know your thoughts on this interpretation! It may not be perfect, but at least I wanted to express how I felt about the song.



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2 комментария

  • the protagonist is not unhappy because he didn’t get what he expected in a relationship, he is unhappy because he is pragmatic but also tends to overthink and second guess everything, not able to simply enjoy being in love like he used to

  • I think it’s an expression of Martin’s ambition — «Stories of Old» has similar themes of placing work and other life accomplishments ahead of pursuing romantic relationships.