Some relationships are solely based on the physical; the unrelenting desire to fuck each others brains out, with little regard for anything else. There are no common interests or aspirations. There are no idiosyncrasies which the other partner refers to as ‘cute’. You’re just going at it like rabbits and hoping that’s enough. When such primal relationships breakdown and end, there are no foundations of friendship on which to rebuild, nothing remains and it’s the breakdown of this type of relationship that ‘Not In Love’ chronicles.
Originally written by 80’s Canadian new wave rockers Platinum Blonde, the song was first covered by Crystal Castles on their excellent sophomore record (Crystal Castles II) released in April this year. Their first run at the track saw them submerge the track in a fog of bitterly cold synths and emotionally stunted vocals. It was rank with the hollow indifference that left with when such physical attraction dies. It was effective, but one dimensioned and didn’t make for the most memorable of covers.
Six months later they’ve had a second run at the track and the results are startling. The bitter synths have been retained and still throb with indifference. The emotionally stunted vocals have been ousted and replaced by the vocals provided by The Cure front man Robert Smith. His expert delivery gives the tracks verses new layers and depth by plunging you headfirst into what I call “break-up sickness”. A feeling composed of regrets, rejection, depression and bitterness that manifest as endless dull ache in your stomach. On this version each emotion is almost tangible, even painful.
However the collaborators weren’t content with adding just this, they wanted to go a step further. They wanted the cure (pun intended) for this ache to be included in the track. As Smith approaches the end of each verse, you can hear the resolve building in his voice. Until finally he proclaims “I’m not in love” and the track is awash with cathartic release and the warmth of a thick layer of house synths.
It hits home like the moment you let go of your final feelings of lust for your lover, when the sickness passes and your left with the question “What did I ever see in them?” The track has been transformed from easily forgettable to one of the best covers of the year, leaving me to wonder what would happen if more Crystal Castles songs were collaborations?