• Laura Kebby

The Smith Street Band, Breakups and Birthdays

We broke up over some Smith Street Band lyrics. Of course, with any relationship, there were definitely undercover issues and complications that found a way to bury themselves into the cracks of everything holding us together. But… at the core of everything that came crashing down, were six lines.

“And I'll be intense And I'll be too much And I'll get too high And I'll get too drunk But in between episodes I'll love you more than anyone you have ever known."

I heard the words, as they mashed together somewhere between my headphones and my incredibly complicated writer’s mind, and together they made my heart swell prompting me to scrawl down the words and share them proudly, to the masses. Because I heard that song and I thought, finally… something… real. Because love is not always selfless, patient and kind, despite what the majority of love songs force us to assume. Love can be gritty, awful and painful…but it’s real. And that’s exactly what I thought our love was.

So, there I was, sitting in the dark, letting the “whys” and “what ifs” run rings around my mind, continuously bumping into corners of you, and us, and everything that had just come crashing down around me. I sat, with 'Birthdays', the song in question, on repeat. Again, and again and again until I started to feel like I penned the words myself and the lyrics became burned into both my heart and my mind. That, and my housemates began to throw headphones at my door.

This continuous loop started to haunt me. I tried to find the faults in the lyrics, poison in the words, but those thoughts just didn’t come. I still resonated and related to every, single, line. Suddenly I started to get caught up in the way I viewed love and romance. In the overarching context of the song, which is indeed a love song, it perhaps makes much more sense. But these lyrics in isolation seemed to say, to my then partner, that I was going to self-destruct and simply distribute scraps of love and affection to her when it suited me. Something that was so far removed from my current mindset about our relationship that all I saw was the beauty behind the complexity of prose. To me, those words said, through everything we may go through, whether individually or together, I will absolutely love you.

I then started thinking, and then overthinking again, about the love songs we choose to let flow through our headphones, filling our heads with images of idealised romance and wonder. As a writer, I know I definitely put a lot more weight into the complexities which lay beneath the words on the page than the majority of those around me. Searching for the subliminal within the text and sounds, more than simply wondering who thought of them, or wrote them, but always asking, who were they written for?

Post breakup, a lot of people turn to a specific song or sometimes even a whole album to get them through what can be a particularly painful time in our lives. Whether we realise it or not, we invest in these songs, and transfer the connection we once had with our partners, to the pain and suffering of others. But are we really listening, or simply resonating with what we want to hear? On the flip side as well, the same thing happens when we are so incredibly in love. We mould and shape the words around our current circumstances.

Back to 'Birthdays'. I still listen to it, religiously. And I still love that song. It’s absolutely a love song. An incredibly beautiful, raw, and real love song. But perhaps, I’m just finally coming to terms with the fact that it wasn’t our love song, which I think says more about my past relationship than any answer to my question of “why” or “what if” ever could. But… as Bob Dylan says, through a song I’m now desperately clinging to, “Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright”.

When Laura drinks whiskey she thinks she turns into a mash up of John Wayne and Joan Jett and starts to measure everything on a scale of 1-Cowboy. She's also a fan of novelty socks and took up writing to talk about other people doing amazing things, just so her parents would get off her back.You can follow her insta @laurakebby or on the Twittisphere.


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