Why Does Love Do This To Me?

Eagle-eyed New Zealand readers of Guardian of the Dead are probably going to notice something about the chapter headings.

Anyone else… probably won’t.

Because they’re all New Zealand song titles, and apart from “How Bizarre” and “Don’t Dream It’s Over”, New Zealand hits do not necessarily make it big internationally, even when they are awesome. And neither of those are in the book.

But it is FIFTEEN SLEEPS until (official) Debut Day, and I intend to use them wisely. With the power of YouTube! And the power of COOKIES! Text cookies, that is, from the book.

Since the book is set in Christchurch, let’s start with the Christchurchiest of bands, The Exponents, and their eternal question, “Why Does Love Do This To Me?”

(How much do New Zealanders love that song? This much. Or maybe this much.)

That is the title of Chapter Sixteen, where love is about to do some nasty things to Ellie.


“You twist the truth,” I said. My head was pounding.

“You seem such a nice girl,” he confided, reaching to pat my arm, smiling when I shied away. “I thought I would warn you.”

“You twist it into knots.”

“I certainly do, my sweet. But I never lie.” He looked over my shoulder. “Do I, dearest Mark?”

I whirled. Mark’s eyes met mine through the smoky air, their vibrant green dulled. But if there was guilt there, or even sorrow, I couldn’t see it.

“No,” he said. “You don’t lie.”

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  • Anecdote ahead: When I was on a school trip to Germany, I was flicking through the radio stations trying to find something that I liked. The first station I found started playing this song. It sounded so familiar but I couldn’t figure out why.

    And then it it. And my reaction was “OMG!”

    It was “How Bizarre”.

    When I mentioned this later at dinner between another student on the trip and our two host students, the hosts immediately started singing the song. And I boggled even more. It was just a strange experience all around, that.

    Seriously though, we have a lot of awesome music here, music which needs a whole lot more international recognition.

  • Karen

    I love that such a clearly Pasifika song became such a huge hit. “Don’t Dream It’s Over” is pretty locationless (but nice!) pop, and Neil’s vocals are sort of vaguely “colonial English” accented, but “How Bizarre” has a really strong Kiwi accent, and those New Zealand hiphop markers.