I was haunted by a musical phrase this last couple of weeks, having heard it every night I went dancing. Maybe like M. Swann I should wonder, did the song play into my melancholy, my imaginary soundtrack, in the way that memory is the corniest of poets, or was it all in the song all along. And then I would think, but isn’t music the apotheosis of abstraction—micro-tonal melodies with their slippery feelingless-ness, variegated from po-mo ambivalence or over-stimulated paralysis to horror movie threnodies. But in my case there were words to the melody, the power chorus to the power ballad worthy of repeat playing every night for weeks on end, even if you also heard it every day at the gym: “Why does love always seem like a dollar bill, a dollar bill, a dollar bill” The two last words repeated thrice in a descending scale of regret and resolution that could have easily lead into the Dies Irae (“Don’t worry mom, I know all about cannibalism. I saw it on TV”).

But then I found out I had misheard. The song is “Battlefield” by Jordan Sparks, tragic beyond her years. The correct lyrics—now I can’t see how I misheard this— why does love always feel like a BATTLEFIELD, a battlefield, a battlefield— not like a dollar bill. Which makes much more sense, because we are strong, but no one can tell us we’re wrong.

I think I like dollar bill better, so much more intimate, Sookie tawdry, dialectically materialist. Pop music needs more Glossolalia, like that 4AD siren Elizabeth Fraser, so that we can all hear things exactly right.