I'm not in love, so don't forget it.
It's just a silly phase I'm going through.
And just because I call you up
don't get me wrong, don't think you've got it made.
I'm not in love, no-no.
I like to see you, but then again
that doesn't mean you mean that much to me.
So if I call you, don't make a fuss.
Don't tell your friends about the two of us.
Be quiet, big boys don't cry
Big boys don't cry (5x)
I keep your picture upon the wall.
It hides a nasty stain that's lying there.
So don't you ask me to give it back.
I know you know it doesn't mean that much to me.
Ooh, you'll wait a long time for me.
Ooh, you'll wait a long time. (2x)
[Repeat 1st verse]
I’m not in love. (2x)
10cc was formed with the assistance of two musicians who had recorded in the 1960s. Graham Gouldman has been included in this collection before, as the composer of the Yardbird’s early psychedelic singles For Your Love and Heart Full of Soul. He and Eric Stewart had been a member of the Mindbenders, who pop enthusiasts of certain age may remember performed A Groovy Kind of Love. The band had recorded two albums previous to The Original Soundtrack, but this album, on the strength of I’m Not in Love, was the first to chart well in the U.S.
For I’m Not in Love the band was able to simulate a large polyphonic choir, creating a dramatic tonal effect similar to that produced by synthesizing vocal harmonies on a mellotron, but far richer in sound due to the human voice. The ethereal sound was created by building up multiple overdubs of the four members of the band singing a single note in unison. This multi-track was then mixed down and dubbed onto a 16 track tape. The process was repeated across thirteen of the tracks to create a lush virtual choir that could be manipulated to form chromatic chords. A number of these prepared multi-tracks were then cut into twelve foot loops, each of which contained the basic notes of the main chords of the song. These choral loops than could be played at the mixing desk, bringing in each chord by using the fader for that loop. According to the engineer Eric Stewart, who wrote a piece about the song for the website Sound on Sound, “We eventually had 48 voices for each note of the chromatic scale, and since there are 13 notes in the chromatic scale, this made a total of 624 voices.” (Contemporaneously, John Lennon would perform a similar experiment with his voice speeded up or slowed down across a range of four octaves for David Bowie’s Fame.)
Despite rare exceptions like Ray Davies’ writing for the Kinks, or some of the songs by Frank Zappa or Randy Newman, the extreme irony of the lyrics in I’m Not in Love is unusual in the psychedelic aesthetic, and perhaps speaks of a later sensibility. However, other aspects of the recording hearken back to 1960s. The woman’s voice whispering Big boys don’t cry over a bass guitar solo reminds me of the child’s voice in Traffic’s 1967 British hit Hole in My Shoe. The changeover to a second coda featuring a music box that emerges quietly from a swirl of voices recalls Traffic’s concluding verse to Paper Sun and the Beatles’ endings to such songs as Rain and Strawberry Fields Forever.