20 September 2018

In desperate need of love

Romuald Louverjon is a name I'm learning to spell. I have to because I will speak of him for years.

My introduction to the vocalist was courtesy of Xavier de Rosnay and Gaspard AugĂ© (known together as Justice), who played The Paradise's In Love with You on radio. The title is the lyrics, which Romuald sings over and over with the sincerity of a teenage boy and the restraint of a gentleman.

Later on I heard the same voice again singing of love with the same sense of urgency. Again it was through the musical duo, but this time as part of a track in their newest album, "Woman". And this time, there's melancholy in the air. The song is called Love SOS. It is beautiful.

August 20th saw the anniversary of my first trip to Japan, more importantly, my first Justice concert. On the 24th, they released the live album of the tour. Now, I'm watching the video of my favorite song from the record.

In a couple of interviews, Xavier and Gaspard talk about their intention to be more powerful, albeit less aggressive as they go on. Listening to their discography, from their earliest works to the latest (especially the live recordings), you will hear that desire being realized. Meanwhile, the Love SOS music video reflects that potent, elegant simplicity of "Woman".

If not for Romuald, the song wouldn't be what it is. Wouldn't even exist. Imagine my delight in unwrapping this behind-the-scenes treat, where I discover that he is a compelling storyteller.

"While it can be read on a personal level, it also refers to a world in desperate need of love. In just a few hours ... I created what would become the vocals of Love SOS," shares the French singer. "The next day in [Justice's] studio I discovered the stressful siren with a heart-touching harmony. A mix that gives the track its double-meaning: the desperate and tender blood or the anger of a political engagement."

What strikes me most in the clip is how much he has influenced Xavier and Gaspard with so little. "Maybe he made, like, five or six songs in ten or fifteen years, but we all found them amazing," says the duo. In a way Justice is like that. When asked about my obsession with the band, I could only think of their three-studio-album output and how it has built a concentrated love in me. They've made, like, 30-something songs in ten years, almost — not gonna lie, I skip a couple of tracks sometimes — all of which I find amazing.

That's my dream. Carve a meaningful totem that can fit in someone's metaphorical pocket. Speaking of which, who else carry in theirs this one of Whitman's (which crosses my mind as I type these last paragraphs)?

Oh Me! Oh Life!
Walt Whitman

Oh me! Oh life! of the questions of these recurring,
Of the endless trains of the faithless, of cities fill’d with the foolish,
Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)
Of eyes that vainly crave the light, of the objects mean, of the struggle ever renew’d,
Of the poor results of all, of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me,
Of the empty and useless years of the rest, with the rest me intertwined,
The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?

That you are here—that life exists and identity,
That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.

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