It´s easy to see how the heyday of the band is somewhere around here. After Myrrh Tristesse starts with irresistible opening riff and never let´s go after that. These two opening songs are about the best start of any album. This song is just pure enjoyment from start to finish. The mystic feeling of Myrrh coupled with the catchy pop approach of Tristesse draws me straight in to the world of Heyday.
The lyrics of the Church are not usually sexy. They leave the door open for many conclusions but sex is usually not one of them. That must be because The Church is one of the whitest bands on the planet as Steve has admitted. Now From Steve Kilbey Live DVD I learned that Tristesse was about the sad feeling after sex. Let´s see from Wikipedia:
"Sexual intercourse can sometimes lead to a feeling of melancholy called post-coital tristesse (from Latin post-coital, and French tristesse, literally - "sadness"). This is more common in women than in men. Many PCT sufferers may also exhibit strong feelings of anxiety, anywhere from five minutes, to two hours after coitus. Some men also report similar feelings of anxiety and guilt after masturbation. The phenomenon is referred to by the philosopher Baruch Spinoza in his Tractatus de Intellectus Emendatione when he said "For as far as sensual pleasure is concerned, the mind is so caught up in it, as if at peace in a [true] good, that it is quite prevented from thinking of anything else. But after the enjoyment of sensual pleasure is past, the greatest sadness follows. If this does not completely engross, still it thoroughly confuses and dulls the mind."
I just don´t get the whole idea of Tristesse to be honest. There has been a wide array of mixed emotions after duo and solo performances for sure, but sadness has not been one of them. This is no macho bullshit, the sadness issue just doesn´t open up to me. I can vaguely understand the guilt part if religion and other relationships were part of the game. It´s much more understandable that the mind is thinking something else during the performance but when it´s over what´s there to worry after that? To be honest this whole concept feels something like an artsy fartsy french movie director would come up with to make his grainy and shaky black and white movie to have more depth.
If sex is the primary activity in the song then it all becomes so much simpler:
"Let´s have sex anywhere
in deserts under the sun and stars
in a hotel suite in rich man´s town
in a hut in botany bay
I´m just sad that it has to end
I can´t stay much longer
and now I have Tristesse"
That was my own very simplified humour vision about it. I have heard many local bands trying to get a summer hit with that kind of simple formula. One guy even tried it repeatedly! In the end I believe that this title was lifted from the "Book Of Fancy International Words" couple of pages after Tantalized. I don´t mind being educated. The Church offers plenty of stuff to think about.