once when i was a kid i asked my mother why all rock songs were about love. my mother thought about it and said she guessed it was because teenagers think about love a lot. i reflected that that seemed pretty stupid to me, when you consider all the other things that you could make rock songs about. why not any rock songs about tree houses? or cereal?

following that rationale i sort of stopped caring about lyrics and preferred to just listen to the sounds. "jet airliner" becomes kind of more interesting when the lyrics are "we go turn the light on" instead of "big old jet airliner," which is what i thought for years.

this only started to change when boys - only a couple of them - began to make me mix tapes. then lyrics assumed a disproportionate role as the possible source of deep, compelling truths about human relationships, if only they could be decoded properly. lyrics flowed into the vast void that yawned between what secret desires i nurtured in myself and what actual, verifiable information from boys was forthcoming.

this also speaks to your point about fantasy. the kinds of meaning that could be applied to lyrics, when supplied by a boy and placed in context with other lyrics, were usually much more profound and moving than anything the average fifteen year old boy is capable of feeling, much less expressing. would a straightforward love note have been more satisfying? in a sense, maybe, but in another sense it would just have been a letdown.