Sunday, February 13, 2011

Love Songs for Grownups

Love songs.  On Valentine's Day, everyone has to have a favorite.  And the only thing more cliched than a heart-shaped box of candies is a list of sappy love songs. 

Love, let's face it, is like a piece of bubble gum.  When you first bite into it, it's intense and sweet and keeps your mouth incredibly busy.  But then, much sooner than the jingle writers would have you believe, the flavor fades and it becomes harder and less fun until sometimes it's actually painful to keep going.  Eventually you might spit it out, and maybe you try again later with a different piece of gum.  Or, if you're tough, you swallow it, and it survives inside you for years. Maybe it's not soft and delicious the way it used to be, but it's not going anywhere.

Just like this delightful analogy, songs about love run the gamut from sweet to spent.  Depending on your current relationship status, you're going to identify more closely with one end of the spectrum or the other.  Yet somewhere between "Unchained Melody" and "Love Stinks" lies the truth about true love:  that it's neither roses and rainbows nor sackcloth and ashes, although it's a little bit of all those things if you stick it out long enough.

Especially on Valentine's Day, it would be wonderful if our personal soundtrack consisted of only sultry ballads and uptempo love songs.  And hey, maybe yours really does.  *cough*bullshit*cough*  That's awesome. 

But if your current relationship doesn't always play to the tune of "Colour My World" or "Wild Thing," here are some selections that may make a bit more sense.  These are all honest-to-God love songs - there's nothing here about revenge, or drinking (well...), or running around with ho's, or throwing yourself or anyone else under the wheels of a moving truck.  Those would be on other (quite useful) lists.  These are love songs for people who maybe still have their heart on their sleeve, but not their head up their ass. 

To all of you...XOXOXOXO. 

Carlisle Wheeling by The Monkees
Hands down, the most obscure song on this list.  It sounds nothing like any Monkees song you've ever heard on the radio, promise.

God Only Knows by The Beach Boys
The greatest love song ever that doesn't actually say "I love you" anywhere in it.

Anyday by Derek and the Dominos
Most of the songs on Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs are about the kind of love that makes you want to throw up and slit your wrists.  This is one of the other kind.

The Scientist by Coldplay
The saddest song on this list.  But in a good way.  Mostly.

I've Been Loving You Too Long (To Stop Now) by Otis Redding
If that's not the definition of a long-term relationship, I don't know what is.

One by Johnny Cash
Better than the original version by U2.  Because it's by Johnny Cash, duh.  Bono's lyrics are frequently more awesome when Bono isn't wrapping his tonsils around them.

Don't Leave Home by Dido
Sometimes love doesn't exactly encourage us to spread our wings and go boldly forth into life. 

Play The Game by Queen
Same basic idea as "The Game of Love" by Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders, but with better harmonies and production values.

Glitter In The Air by Pink
Gorgeous, pretty, delicate...but not gushy.  Pink doesn't do gushy.

Anything, Anything (I'll Give You) by Dramarama
I think it's a love song.  Marriage: check.  Fighting with the in-laws: check. Getting wasted: check.  Yep, it's a love song.

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