It’s strange what desire will make foolish people do

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I’ve recently discovered Daisy Gray’s cover of the Chris Isaak classic Wicked Game. I still can’t decide which I like best, although Gray’s cover might just be edging it, but each are equally haunting in their own way.

Wicked Game is described by Isaak as a tale of obsessive love. It’s a song of love found and lost. A love which becomes destructive through its unreasonable intensity and overwhelmingly obsessive nature; The world was on fire and no one could save me but you.

When we think of love songs we probably think of the romantic, or maybe even the sacrificial nature of humanity we might experience through love, but is there a darker side? Isaak’s song certainly portrays a vision of something far less happy, that of a wicked game being played by one of the proponents of love. But is this really love? Indeed, what is it to love?

Perhaps the key lies in the subtlety of some of the lyrics; I’d never dreamed … strange what desire. Is there a case here that we confuse love, fantasy and desire? When we only see love in a romantic manner does this say more about what we are looking for from the other person to meet our own needs?

There is a hint of this in the song: What a wicked game you played to make me feel this way … What a wicked thing to do to let me dream of you. It strikes me that in both these lyrics there is a shift in responsibility for self, from self, to the other.

So where does this leave us? When we love someone can we really make them responsible for our needs, hold them to account for how we might feel. When we do so, are we really just living out some form of fantasy life in which we deny our self-responsibility?

The haunting sound of this song doesn’t just lie in its musicality, but in the resounding emotion that I need to really think what I consider love. Just viewing love as romance and fantasy might meet my desires but true love changes things.

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