Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
There's always a good reason for listening to one particular song over and over. There's typically something that you have to hear again, or a thought that you have to confirm, or get back in touch with after so much time away from it. It was Hamilton, Ontario band Arkells song, "Kiss Cam," that occupied almost the entirety of my afternoon today. It ended and, without hesitation, it was played again. It's one of those songs that grabs you with a monster hold, with big bear paws and pads. It's an arena song in the way that Phil Collins songs are arena anthems, not in the way that Bon Jovi or Van Halen songs are.
It's a song that reminded me of a VHS tape that I found at a thrift store when I was in high school. It was one of those items that you weren't looking for - because you could have never known you'd wanted such a thing - but once you had it, you were hooked. It was a live Hall & Oates concert from one of their massive stadium tours in the 1980s.
It was incredible and somehow "Kiss Cam" brought all of that footage back to mind, as it's a song that travels some of the same catchy byways, as almost every damned Hall & Oates song ever written. They are of the same ilk, as lead singer Max Kerman belts out these words of an unruly love - an affair of the heart that just never fully worked itself out to a place that those involved thought it would. Here we have two people seemingly madly in love. The parents loved her, the dude looked like he loved her and then all of the good parts of the summer romance faded with one autumnal kiss. Kerman sings:
"This campfire won't last forever…
The Hip have only wrote so many songs.
And we can sort of harmonize together -
You hold my hand, as you try to hold on.
We can't stay up north for the summer -
Head back to the city and find a job.
I know my family loves you like their daughter
But I know you feel like I strung you along
At a time you were kissing me,
The camera found chemistry; cheering for us in cheap seats.
Driving home I can see you stare at me differently.
We're stuck in the nosebleeds baby."
The echoes of the cheering still hovers in the empty stadium, with the lights flicked off and the seats cold. Everyone drives home and hopes that all those kissing couples are happy together. We know of one that's going to have its work cut out for it.