What message is the artist/group trying to transmit with the song?
In the song “Love Is Dead,” Kerli communicates to her audience that love is dead. The love she once felt for an unnamed person, likely a romantic partner, has “collapsed.” Her love has turned against her. What she once felt so deeply now haunts her. It aches. Her love causes pain.
What are some lyrics that help to support this message?
With this song, Kerli grieves for her love’s ugly transformation. The song seems to describe a forbidden love that was likely born of an affair.
In the first verse, Kerli sings that the “hardest part” is when “you feel like you’re fading.” In this line, Kerli refers to a lack of or loss in significance to her previous partner, yet also a loss of her personal identity. Who is she without this relationship? Once one invests oneself wholeheartedly in another person, it can be hard to remember who one is without that person. Devotion and dedication can breed destruction when the object of one’s fidelity is removed. However, I believe that Kerli chose to leave this relationship, which is the reason she sings that all [she] want[s] is right here.” If one accepts the theme of cheating, then one might be able to view Kerli as the mistress in the aforementioned relationship.
As a mistress, Kerli has little power in effecting change in the ongoing and official relationship her partner is engaged in. Her partner, likely unwilling to leave this relationship, thus provides little security or stability for their love. For this reason, Kerli made the difficult decision to leave her secret relationship, and after Kerli forfeits the illicit, yet impassioned affair, she feels lost. She seeks to overcome her rotten love by repeatedly affirming that “love don’t live here anymore.” She wants to assure herself that she made the right decision. She cannot regret, not now, not ever, though she longs for her partner again. All she wants is within her reach, but it comes with the price of secrecy and uncertainty. The film Match Point describes this type of doomed nature in cheating quite dramatically.
How would you describe the musical style of the song? In what ways does the style of singing and instrumentation help convey the rhetorical argument?
The song begins with a powerful drum beat and a melodic cello and violin instrumental. Together, these instruments form a narrative that is both treacherous and beautiful. The steady pace of the instrumentation evokes a sense of storytelling, informing an atmosphere that is similar to a fairy-tale. Included in the song is an apostrophe to Kerli’s ex-partner, but, taken as a whole, the song’s lyrics appear to cry out towards a larger audience. Kerli wants listeners to learn from her experience and seek a secure love that does not consume their entire being or meaning. The orchestra in this song is significant to Kerli’s execution of her message.
The composition of the piece seems to describe the navigation of a dangerous path. It’s as if one has to look over one’s shoulder while listening to this song. By employing a sense of danger, the ballad mimics the traitorous and deceptive nature of Kerli’s secret relationship.
In the song, Kerli’s vocals are slightly distorted. She sounds as if she is singing from behind a glass wall, showing that she is both unsure of the words she is singing to herself, and afraid of being honest about her doubt of the worthiness of her relationship. The instrumentation is forceful and almost overpowers Kerli’s voice at times. One is never unaware of the thematic orchestra scoring Kerli’s ascent through perilous territory. As the song advances, however, Kerli angelic voice increases in power. She continuously repeats and chants variations of “love is dead, love is gone, love don’t live here anymore,” alternating between singing these words, chanting them, and crying them to the audience.
The song’s orchestra alternatively escalates in tempo and decreases in pitch as the song continues. This combination foreshadows the final climax of the song, which is left ambiguous as the song culminates in a twinkling of chimes and a clash of guitar screeching. Kerli’s emotions burst forth as the instruments pound at the glass she is trapped behind, until, finally, her voice trembles with its open, loud declaration. Yet, slowly, her voice retreats behind an anxious duet between the cellos and violins. One is left unsure of her ending as the song completes.
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