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Niki & The Dove – So Much it Hurts


Those of us who have trouble expressing our feelings out loud often use music to process the more difficult times in life. For me, this always used to involve making a carefully sequenced mixtape that would lay out the whole sordid story from beginning to end, arriving at some sort of resolution by the end of a C90 (or 120 if things had been particularly bad). In a box somewhere I still have my favourite ever one, which detailed a brief but doomed romance when I was 21. The first half was fairly jolly, but side one ended with Careless Whisper by George Michael (I felt a stab of miserable pleasure every time I heard “guilty feet ain’t got no rhythm”) and side two began with I Don’t Want to Be Your Friend by Cyndi Lauper, so that should give you a rough idea of what happened. However, the whole thing concluded on a vaguely upbeat note of hope with a lovely song called Hand on My Shoulder by Betsy Cook, representing my friends who’d helped me get over this disaster, presumably through gritted teeth and with rolling eyeballs. Overall though, I quite like that there’s a ninety minute record of just how heartbroken I was at what now seems like a very minor event.

I’ve been reminded of pop’s miraculous healing power by the passing of Prince. Other writers far better than I have already spoken about what his death means, so I’m just going to stick to doing what I normally do – playing a song on a constant loop until I feel better. And that song is So Much it Hurts by Niki & The Dove.

I adored this when I first heard it earlier this year, courtesy of fellow Into the Popvoid writer Derek Crook. When the news broke it was the first record I lurched for out of every other piece of recorded music – and not just because So Much it Hurts is itself a bit of a love letter to Prince (though of course it’s not just that, in fact with its synthy chorus it also reminds me of early Trevor Horn productions). Yes, it references Thieves in the Temple and has a similar feel (for my money) to Money Don’t Matter 2Nite, but it’s the words that are doing the job for me. You know that feeling of emptiness you get when a constant in your life vanishes suddenly?

“…you said that / For better for worse / You would always be there for me / Bring it back / I need your love so much it hurts…”

That, basically. It looks a bit full-on written down, but the way Malin Dahlström sings it isn’t. She delivers those lines with the perfect combination of disbelief, anguish and yearning – feelings a lot of us are having right now for someone we never met but who has never not been around. It’s confusing and it hurts in ways it probably shouldn’t in a rational adult and it’s also hard to explain without sounding over-wrought or like you’re over-reacting.

This is why I think the mixtape as mouthpiece idea is still the best. So Much it Hurts is track one, side one, on a brand new C90 I might call ‘Songs for Getting over Loss and Yourself’. We’ll miss you Prince, and we want you back.

3810c6ec0dd2a91e4199424ed4ad4bf5ace6264eEntered chart: did not chart

Who could sing this today and have a hit? I’m still hoping Niki & The Dove’s ‘people’ will do a little more than just release their stuff into the wild. They could be huge.

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