#2 – “I’ve Got A Match” (1988)

Lincoln
A.S.: Have you ever heard the phrase from which the title is based?  “I’ve got a match: your face and my ass.” Because I haven’t.
L.K.: Nope, I haven’t either.  Maybe it’s a relic of a previous time.
A.S.: The Johns’ schooldays
L.K.: I wonder why this was one of three Lincoln songs that didn’t make it to their Lincoln shows in late 2011.  It doesn’t seem like it’d be particularly hard to play.
A.S.: Yeah.
L.K.: I feel like they seem to dislike it for some reason, but I’m not sure why
A.S.: Right, I mean, it pretty much ties in to the great mystery of why they never play this live anymore anyway
L.K.: Peoples’ opinions shift over time, and Linnell could just be annoyed or embarrassed by this song nowadays.
A.S.: Yeah, it is a pretty old tune
L.K.: Somebody asked Flans on Tumblr if they would play this song live and he said that it was the first song they ever really got sick of playing, but I mean, did they ever play it that much?
A.S.: I dunno, but don’t people like to assume that it depresses Linnell too much or that he has difficulty singing it?  Even though there’s no way to really back up that claim, to my knowledge.
L.K: Yeah, I read somebody saying somewhere online that Linnell cried once singing it or something, but I have a hard time believing that.  It’s pretty damn out of character for him.
A.S.: Agreed.  Sad saaaaaaaaaaaaack.
L.K.: I mean, people say stuff about They’ll Need a Crane being “depressing” or “personal” to Linnell too, but they’re playing that again and they seem to have no problem with playing it!
A.S.: Which is a wonderful thing.
L.K.: (which makes me wonder why they ever stopped, but that’s a story for another song-a-day.)
A.S.: That said, “I’ve Got A Match” is one sad tune.
L.K.: Oh, agreed, it’s a pretty straightahead anti-love song.
A.S.: The line, “I’m gonna die if you touch me one more time / Well I guess that I’m gonna die no matter what” is probably one of the best lyrics in the discography.
L.K.: I don’t know about best lyrics in the whole discography, but it’s definitely a really great/really depressing line.
A.S.: I can probably say that about a lot of lines, but I feel like no matter what, whenever I hear that tune, I just need to pause and appreciate that line
L.K.: Speaking of lyrics, I’ve never understood the line “Beat up the cat if you need someone else on the mat.” What on earth does that mean?
A.S.: .Maybe just the narrator begging his lover/spouse/whatever to blame someone else for once?
L.K.: I think when I posted about it on Facebook once, someone suggested it as some absurd BDSM sexual euphemism, which seems highly unlikely
A.S.: …Yeah.  So I just discovered that in the UK, this was the B-side to a promotional “They’ll Need a Crane” single, which would make for the mopiest pairing possible.  Were TMBG being marketed as the next Smiths?
L.K.: I was about to say, it’s like they’re trying to be The Smiths or something.  “Those British folk, they like mopey music.”
A.S.: Much less straightforward than The Smiths, but still, two songs about break-ups on one single.
L.K.: Oh, another thought: I feel like I’ve heard alternate lyrics to this song in live performances.
A.S.: From bootlegs?
L.K.: Yeah, from assorted old bootlegs. “I take my lumps from the coffee in my coffee mug” or something to that effect instead of the “I put a rock…” line.
A.S.: What the hell does that mean?
L.K.: I have absolutely no idea
A.S.: One other thing – Linnell utilizes one of the greatest tricks that any pop songwriter can use, to excellent effect on this one: The “Be My Baby” beat.
L.K.: You know more about this than I do, so could you maybe explain what that is?
A.S.: It’s that Dum.  Dum dum.  DUM! rhythm
L.K.: Ah, like the opening of “Be My Baby”, right?
A.S.: Yep, also used well in “I Should Be Allowed to Think” and I think maybe another song or two.  But here especially, the suspense of waiting for that final hit at the end of every measure complements the tense, distraught mood of the whole song.  It’s like an anti-“Be My Baby”?  Probably a bit too presumptuous.
L.K.: Oh yeah
A.S.: Either way, I think “I’ve Got A Match” is a great song, even if TMBG doesn’t.
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