romanglass (romanglass) wrote in magne_f,
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romanglass
magne_f

'futuristic robot love stories'

A post about 'That's the thing about us' has been drafting itself in my brain for a couple of weeks, and this phrase from Epitonic yesterday nudged me to pull together my thoughts in some kind of communicable format:

"Possibly the world’s least-known supergroup, Apparatjik makes eccentric industrial dance-rock music to soundtrack tales of futuristic robot love stories."

(Sorry, but when I read that I couldn't help but think of these unlikely soulmates :-))

Those of us who have been following along from the beginning generally know about the World of the Apparatjik and the storyline around Josie (find it over here in a more readable format), and we're used to lyrics referring to this strange digital love relationship. Some references to it are sweet, some fun, some questioning, and some - like in 'That's the thing about us' - almost painfully beautiful.

The story has changed over time, but what seems to be consistent is that there are two people (Apparatjiks or humanoids or robots or whatever, I'm just gonna call them 'people' because it's easiest when writing) who have an amazing attraction to one another, who for some reason communicate over a distance and seem to never have clearly declared their feelings for each other. So even though there is a wonderful, deep bond there, and we get clues that they belong together, there is some kind of mysterious and tragic disconnect ('supervoid') keeping them apart.

Do they speak different languages?
Are they of different 'ancestry' and thus physically incompatible? Or is there actual danger in being together? ('we are running, we are hiding..')
Are they in parallel universes, only able to communicate via technology somehow? ('can you see the writing on the screen?')
Is their relationship ultimately doomed, or is there a way to be together if they can only find it? ('will you be my digital valentine?')

Yes, this is all modern mythology around artificial beings, but the way the story is told sounds like a very human experience, and I think many people can probably relate to the emotions in the songs.


That's The Thing About Us

How many worlds make a perfect place
Folded inside your secret space?
Have you ever been so lost in time
That you didn’t watch the clock?
Did you think there was a way for us
Or did you even give a fuck?

In nine seconds or less
We’ll be free from this cosmic mess
And nine times I’ll pretend
That I’ve been fixed and I’m on the mend
That’s the thing about us
We find love in choas

Think there's a chance that I might be flying
Billions of pieces of glass left behind
Have you ever been so close to a star
that you could have felt it?
Ever been so close to love
that you could stroke it like velvet?

In nine seconds or less
We’ll be free from this cosmic mess
And nine times I’ll pretend
That I’ve been fixed and I’m on the mend
That’s the thing about us
We find love in choas

Usually we only get one side of the story, so it's great to hear from both of them. We finally know she is attracted to him too :-)

How many worlds make a perfect place
Folded inside your secret space?


It sounds like she must be very private or reserved, protecting her feelings and her deepest thoughts. Since he loves her, its must be difficult for him to be outside the walls she has around her, and it leaves him wondering where he stands. Has he ever tried to get to know her better? It would be ironic if she is keeping everything safe inside because she has no idea where she stands with him ('did you know?').

Have you ever been so lost in time
That you didn’t watch the clock?


When you're with the one you love, it's easy to lose track of time and just enjoy being together. Implied in this question is that he enjoys being with her, which is sweet, but it seems like he's not sure if she also gets lost in time with him...which is kind of sad if so.

Did you think there was a way for us
Or did you even give a fuck?


This is the part that catches in my heart every time I hear it. One of the best things about being in love is the confidence it gives you. No matter where you are in the world, and how far apart you might be, you know that your love thinks of you last before falling asleep and first when they wake up; you know that no matter what difficulty you face, you face it together; you know that at your absolute worst and at your absolute best, they will accept you as you are; there is a freedom and a peace you get from knowing you are loved. He thinks there could be something special between them, but he has no idea if she wants to be together, and that is heartbreaking. But it's beautiful too, because it's honest.

Why doesn't he know how she feels? Considering she has this 'secret space', my guess is that for some reason she cannot tell him how she feels. There are so many possibilities - maybe she doesn't know how to express her feelings (especially over a distance or through whatever technology they have), or maybe she doesn't feel good enough for him ('did you run / cause you thought that you didn't deserve it?'), or maybe she has been hurt so much before that she is afraid to take a chance. Again, digging into the mythology, maybe there is some actual danger in putting her feelings out in the open, or maybe she is afraid to risk losing everything she has worked so hard for.

But it's clear that at this stage in the game, he's angry and hurt. Still he can't deny his feelings for her in the refrain: 'We find love in chaos.'

Think there's a chance that I might be flying
Billions of pieces of glass left behind


I may be interpreting/hearing this wrong, but it seems like she has just broken free from a painful situation, and is experiencing a new freedom. It's interesting that she only *thinks* she might be flying - so is that a metaphor meaning she thinks she is in love but is unsure of her feelings? Knowing there is some pain or disappointment behind her could help explain why this love is such an alien experience. It could also explain why she keeps her feelings inside.

Have you ever been so close to a star that you could have felt it?
Ever been so close to love that you could stroke it like velvet?


The wonder and longing in these lines are so lovely. She sees love as something outside herself, something beautiful she wants but for some reason she is not actually reaching for...to be so close to love (meaning the person you care about), to feel warmth from it and yearn to touch it, and not be able to do anything about it - again, it's beautiful but heartbreaking.

Slight aside - this reminds me of an Indigo Girls song, "Love will come to you":

Guess I wasn't the best one to ask
Me myself with my face pressed
Up against love's glass
To see the shiny toy I've been hoping for
The one I never can afford


Who hasn't been in that situation at some point in their life, aching for love but not quite there, wondering if you'll ever be on the other side of the glass in the warmth with the one you love? This is a very common human experience, and that's probably why the love story appeals to people so much.



So is there any hope for these two? They both lack confidence and trust in each other's love. The only way to build trust and confidence is to risk everything and be open for once. If she can learn to trust herself - and to trust him - and if he can find a way to let her know how he feels and that she is safe with him, they could actually get somewhere.

If this were a Hollywood movie, it would probably play out like this: he would find the courage to finally declare himself clearly, somehow convince her she is safe with him, and then there would be a passionate kiss and all her defenses would magically disappear and they'd start a new life together, fade to credits, where did we park the car? But in real life and in the World of the Apparatjik, I doubt it could be that simple ;-)
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