music, song of the week

Song Of The Week: “Love Is For The Middle Class” by House of Heroes

Listen and/or read along!

I don’t want to wait til the end of the month to tell you something about the new House of Heroes album, so I’m starting a new feature where I promote specific songs that are spectacular, noteworthy, provocative, or maybe just currently stuck in my head. The first Song of the Week is “Love Is For The Middle Class” by House of Heroes, off their new album Suburba.

The track is dripping with the most catchiness on the record – especially on the fast-paced verses – and it explores the tension involved in wanting to spend a life with someone but not having the financial resources to secure it… The verses tell of a man who works at a pool instead of going to college…

I got my G.E.D with a 2.2
I couldn’t take four more in a business school
Just to spend another 20 in a cubicle
So I got a summer job cleaning swimming pools

I saw my little angel in a one piece suit
She had a high class mind and her face was cute
For the first time I didn’t know what to do
I said, “I’d better start to make the cash,
Love is for the middle class”

In so few words, the band expresses the anxiety of all the young lovers or wanna-be lovers who feel like they need good jobs and good money before they can safely get married and support a family. But in the chorus, Tim Skipper reacts against such societal restraints, as he shouts with the rest of the band’s big harmonies:

If all I had was love, would I still be lovely?
I all I gave was love, would you give up on me?
But if you measure love in false securities
I owe you nothin’ at all
Don’t owe you nothin’ at all
Don’t need your lovin’ at all
Don’t owe you nothin’ at all

After the second verse and chorus, the bridge recognizes the complicated reality while still hoping that true love can find a way to work:

Oh, I wouldn’t mind it if we nickle and we dime it
Just to be together in the end
Maybe just a little till we make it to the middle
And they’re takin’ half of every cent
If you can find a brother that can take you from the gutter
Than I get if you gotta go
But does he relly see you like you know I really see you
Does he love you with his rebel soul
Like I can love you baby
Like I do

I love the richness of the lyrics, telling a story in a single line that represents the stories of anyone who can relate, from falling in love in the first verse (“I saw my little angel in a one-piece suit”) to the bridge’s assessment of the pain of paying taxes mixed with the recognition that at least you’re making enough money to pay all those taxes (“And they’re taking half of every cent”). This bridge is followed again by the band yelling the frantic line:

I said, “I’d better make the cash,
Love is for the middle class”
I said, “I’d better make the cash,
Love is for the middle class”

The narrator doesn’t want a girl who only wants the “false securities” of life, but can he get and keep a girl if he doesn’t have a means of providing those securities? It’s an agonizing reality, and House of Heroes expresses life’s complicated tension in a fun and energetic song.