Music Monday: It Must Be the Sign on My Head

(no, not that one)
“That says, ‘oh, Love Me Dead!'”

or, A Feminist Critique of Ludo’s “Love Me Dead”

Today’s music brought to you courtesy of DH *ahem* who picked it up from a House commercial. Which is funny, since I watch TV & he doesn’t and the song totally escaped my notice. I’ve had it stuck in my head essentially since I first saw the video for it, which I shall present forthwith:

Not only is this a good song, the video is interesting for being a long take, that is, a shot which stays on the screen (with no cuts) for longer than 15 seconds (yes, that is actually the longest shot you will see watching most television or film productions). There may be a cut at 2:15, I’m not sure.

The lyrics are also interesting (I’m a lyrics girl—a song may be great musically, but I generally pay more attention to the lyrics). The part I find most interesting is the unveiled reference to le petit mort:

Her body is my coffin
I know she drains me slowly
She wears me down to bones in bed

It’s been a while since I’ve seen any references (veiled or otherwise) to orgasm-as-death. In fact, the whole song can be taken as a discussion of this concept (“kill me romantically” and, obviously, “love me dead”). Now, maybe I’m just running in the wrong circles, but this doesn’t seem to be a concept that is widely acknowledged or discussed. I first came across it in exploring feminist writings where one theory for the desire of (primitive) men to subjugate women was partially in response to the fact that sex was seen to induce a little death; that women, in effect, “stole” the life force of men through coitus. Obviously, this does not take into account any relations but heterosexual ones. I wonder what this theory might do when encountered with evidence of Greek pederasty, since while the boys involved were unquestionably still subordinate to the men, there was much more equality implied as between a man and a boy than between a man and his wife.

Association of the nebulous “she” in the song with the devil (or at least as something evil) is also pretty blatant. “You’ve got the mark of the beast/You’re born of a jackal!” Demonization of the feminine is obvious in most works considered by feminists to be antifeminist (see: the Bible). When the demonization of “she” is not expressly comparing her to a demon, it’s merely describing her as horrible: “You’re a parasitic, psycho, filthy creature”, “Fill my soul with vomit”, and my favorite, “You’re a faith-healer on T.V./You’re an office park without any trees: corporate and cold”.

And then there’s the infidelity and references to the desires “she” has, both for sex and other earthly pleasures (for certainly the singer is far more civilized): “You’re a gluttonous queen/[…]/You suck so passionately” (I like the double entendre there) and “You call me up drunk”. The internal conflict of attempting to demonize these desires in the woman while at the same time not admitting to feeling them himself is apparent throughout the song: “Bitter and dumb, you’re my sugarplum/You’re awful, I love you” and “She knows just how to hold me/[…]/She wears me down to bones in bed”. Of course “bones” is also a double entendre, and the line reference fact that her sexual desires exceed his ability to comply. Finally, there is the worst thing a woman could ever do to him, cheat on him (admitting that he is incapable of satisfying her): “How’s your new boy?/Does he know about me?” This of course begs the question of which boy is being cheated on (or is it *shock* *horror!* both?).

My interpretation of it as a whole work (including the video and its comic depictions of vampires, zombies, firemen, and faceless men with televisions for bodies) is that it is itself a feminist critique. Most pop songs are far from being this sophisticated in their commentary about society (with several notable exceptions) and I’m quite impressed that Ludo manages to cram all of this into a song that’s catchy and enjoyable to listen to.

I’m sure much can also be made of the various masks in the video, but I have no desire to do so right now.


  1. I’m like you xJane, I listen to music for the lyrics first, and the music second. This is quite impressive, and reminds me a bit of the Scissor Sisters.

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