Like Up the Junction, this is a song with a narrative heart tinged with a downbeat sentiment, but enhanced with a plaintive delivery.
This song is like listening to a story book, but with the bonus of a nice repetitive chorus. The lyrics on the whole are very simple, but every so often there will be a lyrical loop or alliteration that will just sound genius on the ears. It is a real pleasure to listen to songs that have been written with a eye and ear for poetry, it makes such a difference. And it’s sung with a nice swooping tone on certain words – perfect to try and emulate - try it!
She moved home alon-e without friends or rel-a-tions
Lived in a wo-rld full of age reserv-a-tion
Labelled with Love tells us the story of an older lady – the sort of lady people grimace at and quickly walk past in the supermarket before they get a whiff of Eau De Pee. But then we see into where she lives and what an empty struggle it is – there’s nothing left for her in life apart from her memories, unlocked with whisky. Further to that we hear what she was like as a younger lady – adventurous to marry an American pilot during the Second World War, and go off to Texas with him. Yet he was an alcoholic, and the sentence ‘he became drinker and she became mother’ leads me to believe not that she had children, but that she forego motherhood in that sense to look after her husband instead. The next part ‘she knew that one day she’d be one or the other’ was her insightfulness that one day she’d too turn the same way, but with no inclination to prevent it, even though he died from alcoholism. After that she came back to the UK only to find there was nothing left for her here, except for the old age she once predicted – bottles labelled with love.
Oh how depressing and sad, yet strangely this is a beautiful song, although something does jar with me, in both this and with Up the Junction. Both songs have a sentence within them that, to my ears, sounds lazy – as if the songwriter couldn’t find anything else suitable to rhyme so he stuck in a sentence thinking ‘it’ll do’, and the problem is the rest is so nice that it just doesn’t ‘do’ – if you see my meaning. For me with this song it is the lyrics in bold:
She crossed the ocean back home to her family
But they had retired to roads that were sandy
I get what he means – they’ve gone to Bournemouth, or similar, but I can’t help wishing he’d strived for higher there. To me that is the sort of poetry I'd write when I'm stuck. And with Up the Junction it is the lyrics in bold:
No more nights by the telly
No more nights nappies smelling
In that song he’d already used the word ‘telly’ to rhyme with ‘smelly’ – and this repeat just feels like it doesn't enhance the song - it's not a chorus, it doesn't tell us anything new about the character's predicament - it's just... well, filler - and I hate thinking there is filler on songs I love, as the rest is just so good!