Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Not so silly love songs. (A brief musical interlude before Pt. 4)

I don't know, maybe it's that time of the year. The leaves are just starting to turn to various colors, there was a slight nip in the morning air the other day, and a young man's thought's turn to love...Oh, wait, that's spring. Besides, I'm middle aged. The only thoughts that are turning in my head about this time of year are how I am going to afford a new snow blower for the coming winter.

But I digress.

Love songs. they come in all types, from the sappy, to the profound, to the downright silly. Now, I suppose this is going to take the flavor of a small meme, but I thought I would list those loves songs that still get to me. Here's the catch: They're not usually the ones that you find played on everyday radio. They're the ones that were on the albums that you discovered on your own; little gems that just struck you right where you live. Now, "Unchained Melody" is a fine love song, I daresay a magnificent one. However, the ones that I love best are those that drive deeper. So, here is my list of the love songs that just blow me away:

1. "It Makes No Difference." - The Band - 40 years on, this song still never fails to disappoint. Rick Danko's plaintive wail, and the pain in his voice tear at your soul. Robbie Robertson wrote the words, but Danko's voice and Garth Hudson's searing sax just burn through me every time:

"It makes no diff'rence how far I go
Like a scar the hurt will always show
It makes no diff'rence who I meet
They're just a face in the crowd
On a dead-end street
And the sun don't shine anymore
And the rains fall down on my door"

"Sweet Fire Of Love." - Robbie Robertson - The Band's main songwriter penned this beautiful, erotic piece of work from his 1986 solo album. He recorded it with U2, when they were still hungry. His duet with Bono is just an incredible testament to unbridled passion:

"Didn't we break the silence
Didn't we fear the storm
Didn't we move the earth
Didn't we shoot for the sky
And didn't we catch the fire
And didn't we call upon the spirits
And didn't we fall together
And didn't we die for love

Days on the run, Nights in hiding
Hoping that you were, The healing inside me

Breathe in the sweet fire of love"

3. A Little Is Enough - Pete Townshend - England's answer to Bob Dylan, IMHO. Townshend can be direct, pretentious, but never boring; and that's just his opinion. (It's mine too.) He is probably my favorite songwriter, and this one off of "Empty Glass" just cuts through all the bullshit of most love songs and tells it like it is. If you've ever been in a long distance relationship, or one that doesn't allow you to be with the person you really want in your life, this will just cut right through you:

I'm a connoisseur of champagne cognac
The perfume nearly beats the taste
I eat an oyster and I feel the contact
But more than one would be a waste
Some people want an endless line that's true
But all I have's a little time with you
A smile sets me reeling
A kiss feels like stealing
Your love is like heroin
The addict is mellowing
I can't pretend that I'm tough
Just a little is enough"

4. "Blood of Eden." - Peter Gabriel - What can I say about this song? Gabriel wrote it at the time of his divorce. Pain and confusion, mixed with a longing for what once was hits hard. It did with me:

My grip is surely slipping
I think I've lost my hold
Yes, I think I've lost my hold
I cannot get insurance anymore
They don't take credit, only gold
Is that a dagger or a crucifix I see
You hold so tightly in your hand
And all the while the distance grows between you and me
I do not understand

In the blood of Eden
Lie the woman and the man
With the man in the woman
And the woman in the man."

5. "One" - U2 - I hesitated adding this to the list, as it had tremendous airplay, and just about everyone on the planet knows this song. That said, it is still a magnificent piece of work. While not originally written as a love song, per se, the lyrics, open to interpretation, can certainly go in that direction:

"Have you come here for forgiveness,
Have you come to raise the dead
Have you come here to play Jesus to the lepers in your head
Did I ask too much, more than a lot
You gave me nothing, now it's all I got.
We're one, but we're not the same.
Well, we hurt each other, then we do it again.
You say love is a temple, love a higher law

Love is a temple, love the higher law.
You ask me to enter, but then you make me crawl
And I can't be holding on to what you got, when all you got is hurt."

So. What songs do it for you? List 'em on your blog, or just tell me about them.


battlemaiden said...

Those cheesy Chicago-with-Peter-Cetera ballads get me every time. You know, the ones from the Karate Kid movies.

U2 songs that get me: All I Want is You, and Running to Stand Still. The latter is not so much a love song in the traditional sense, but I relate to it. I'm not a drug addict, as the song suggests. I do think it can be interpreted as a love song about despair, and really, who hasn't been there?

Bina said...

Wow. There are just so many, but one of my all time favorites is "Cool Change" (Little River Band, I think. I won't put all the lyrics here, but here is a link.

If there's one thing in my life that's missing,
It's the time that I spend alone,

LOVE that song!!!!!

Or how 'bout Always & Forever??? By Heatwaver

Always and forever
Each moment with you is just like a dream to me
That somehow came true
And I know tomorrow will still be the same
Cos' we've got a life of love that won't ever change

And ev'ry day love me your own special way
Melt all my heart away with a smile
Take time to tell me you really care
And feel sad tomorrow together
I'll always love you, forever, forever

There'll always be sunshine when I look at you
Something I can't explain, just the things that you do
And if you get lonely, phone me
And take a second to give to me the magic you make

And ev'ry day love me your own special way
Melt all my heart away with a smile
Take time to tell me you really care
And feel sad tomorrow together
I'll always love you, forever, forever

buffalodickdy said...

The sappy thirties and forties songs do it for me... "I'm In The Mood For Love" The real "Glory Of Love".. You gotta give a little..take a little, and let your poor heart break a little, that's the story of, that's the glory of Love".. not that Pete Cetera crap.. Torch songs will always make me stop talking and listen, when done well... Thanks for the memories..

Peter said...

It might sound strange, but many French songs pull the trigger over here [I'm a native Dutch speaker].

I'm no spring chicken either, and way back when I was young I had many French speaking close friends who shared their love of French classic stars.

I even visited Dalida's grave in Paris ;-) [Trust me, nobody in America knows her voice]

Dragonfly Dreaming said...

So, um, which one is for me??? ;)

Hiya doll! I am home, did you miss me? Did you??! Huh?? Huh??!

Mr. Nighttime said...

Claudia - Who are you again? ;-)
Of course I missed you!

AnneDroid said...

I wasn't blessed with a very poetic soul, I'm afraid (sad, ain't it?), although of course I'm a big fan of love, like all of us are.

In the absence of a poetic soul, I tend to remember the witty lines, like Dr Hook's "If I said you had a beautiful body would you hold it against me?" (not very romantic I admit) or Meat Loaf's "You took the words right out of my mouth - it must have been while you were kissing me". These are just the first two that sprung to mind but there's loads obviously.

Good idea for a post, btw.