This week, we come to the last song on Warren’s 1989 album Transverse City: “Nobody’s in Love This Year.” I’m not sure what to make of this song, truthfully. Or — more precisely — I’m not sure what to make of it in the context of Transverse City.
The album begins with a Side One that explicates a near-future dystopia of denuded environment, soulless cityscapes, and perpetual war. Then Side Two comes along and reminds us that the “near-future dystopia” is actually the world we live in already.
And then there’s “Nobody’s in Love This Year.”
We keep walking away for no reason at all
And no one says a word
We were always so busy protecting ourselves
We never would have heard
And the rate of attrition for lovers like us
Is steadily on the rise
Nobody’s in love this year
Not even you and I
It’s one of Warren’s sad love songs. We’ve seen these before; they’re masterful. But what the hell is it doing on this album? What the hell is it doing in the final slot, as the last thing the listener will hear, the takeaway, as it were?
I’ve gone over the lyrics again and again, and I was fully prepared to talk about how the song’s later use of banking metaphors to describe lost love draw a connection between personal interrelationships and the wider global crises Warren describes in the rest of the album. But you know what? In thinking about, I’m pretty sure that’s all crap.
I think he was just sad.
I think he was just really, really sad and he put this song on the album because he was sad. And it doesn’t fit with the rest of the album, but it fits his mood.
So, here’s “Nobody’s in Love This Year:”