“Fools in love, well are there any other kinds of lovers?”
I don’t know about now, but in 1979 Joe Jackson was very cynical about affairs of the heart. On his debut album every single song (except the broadly satirical Sunday Papers) was about how horrible love is. Is She Really Going Out With Him? – instead of going out with Joe Jackson. Pretty Girls – they got the guys right where it hurts. Happy Loving Couples - are insufferable. You Got the Fever – of needing to get laid. And so forth in the same vein. It’s a full album’s worth of anti-love songs. On Fools In Love, as all over Look Sharp!, Jackson is noting something most purveyors of silly love songs don’t notice or ignore. Namely, other people’s love affairs, be they happy lovin’ or not, are to outside eyes aggravating beyond words. Either they’re all lovey-dovey and disgusting and all over each other, which nobody wants to see (because it makes us jealous, natch). Or they’re fighting and crying and raining all over everyone else’s good time. Unless it’s some Romeo & Juliet caliber drama, other people’s personal lives aren’t particularly interesting. And while we’re naturally attracted to gossip of the who’s-doing-what-with-whom variety, we really don’t have much patience for our acquaintances stories of how blissfully happy/bereft and heartbroken they are. Unless it’s us. Then we can’t get over ourselves. We just can’t stop telling ourselves the story of our big love/big breakup. Which is rightly so, and it’s those exciting highs and lows that usually get memorialized in song. Meanwhile Joe Jackson, being the odd duck that he is, thoughtfully provided a record for the in-between times – songs for when you’re single and aggravated.