Best tunes of 2012: #18 Stars “Hold on when you get love and let go when you give it”

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Well, hello February!

You might’ve noticed that I spent most of January in the ‘90s – my happy place musically and nostalgia-wise – but if you’re sick of that, I’m here to rescue you with a smattering of 2012. And you couldn’t ask for something better to lift you out of a funk (if the 90s were a funk) than this awesome, high energy number by Montreal-based indie-poppers: Stars.

“There’s been a lot of talk of love
But that don’t amount to nothing
You can evoke the stars above
But that doesn’t make it something”

If I am remembering correctly, Stars’ 2012 album, “The north”, was the seventh (or eighth) LP I bought after starting to collect vinyl again. In fact, it was one of the handful I purchased before I even had a turntable to play them on. This didn’t bother me at the time because pretty much every record I was purchasing around this time included a download card for a digital version of the album. So even though I couldn’t yet play the record, I still had a way of listening to the music I had purchased. And I listened to this album quite a lot after purchasing it. In fact, I remember listening to this album continuously for the whole train ride back from Toronto on my iPod shortly after its release (though I couldn’t tell you now, why I was in Toronto and why my wife wasn’t travelling with me that time) and perhaps this is when I fell in love with this very tune.

“It’s a pretty melody
It might help you through the night time
But it doesn’t make it easy
To leave the party at the right time”

“Hold on when you get love and let go when you give it” was the second single to be released off “The north” and it could very well be at the top of the list of my favourite songs whose title includes more than 10 words.* It became huge for the band, a dance club eruption. And though there are only hints of it in the lyrics, the song became a LGBTQ anthem, in part because of the video (which you can watch below). One of the principal songwriters of Stars, Torquil Campbell has said of the video: “I wanted to make a video that celebrated the following things: 1. being yourself, 2. being someone else, 3. being fucking fabulous, 4. showing up, putting on your heels and staying alive. Drag queens know a couple of things the rest of us choose not to know: you are who you imagine yourself to be, and you can be a star even if — especially if — nobody ever knows who you really are.”

The song, itself, is pure pop brilliance, spreading love wherever it is played, pop in the vein of eighties nostalgia but with 21st century digital production. It is an insistent dance floor beat, reverberating memories, strobe light heart beats, and dance floor crushes. The melodies inspire flashback shots of love and ecstasy and at each chorus, Amy Millan fills our hearts with joy and hope. Love comes in rushes and waves, sneaky kisses and cautious caresses. It’s indeed magical.

“The world wont listen to this song
And the radio wont play it
But if you like it sing along
Sing ’cause you don’t know how to say it”

*Honestly, I don’t currently have such a list but it might be something worth looking at. Surely, though, this song title is the longest amongst my most favourite of songs.

For the rest of the Best tunes of 2012 list, click here.

4 replies on “Best tunes of 2012: #18 Stars “Hold on when you get love and let go when you give it””

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