Five Points, Vol. 16 No. 1

Spring 2014

From Stephen Dunn, “I am worried … once that I know what I am doing, I just might do it.”

Sample Content

Stephen Burt
On Listening to “Tallulah” by Allo Darlin and/or “So Little Deserve” by Heavenly and/or “All the Songs That Will Mean So Much” and/or Elements of Nostalgia in Popular Music, Part MCMLXXXIV

I am going to take apart, in perhaps excruciating detail, a fairly simple pop song, released last year, because I think that pop song a wonderful thing, a representative for a great (though deliberately unambitious) tradition, and a neat key to some of the emotions (nostalgia, regret, acceptance, resentment, friendship and other affection) that also underpin a lot of literary art. Before I do that I am going to introduce you to earlier, related songs and songwriters and pop groups—Heavenly, for example, and the Go-Betweens—who are the precedents for this song (a song, in part, about the fact that songs and pop groups and emotions all have precedents). If you listen to the music called indiepop already, some of what follows might sound overly familiar (or just overblown). If you don’t, perhaps I can persuade you to listen, or at least—in this tour through the history that lies, hazily and uncertainly, behind one song—show you why some of these songs matter to me.