Friday, December 08, 2006

Top 15 Love Songs (Part 2 of 3)


10. Nashville - Liz Phair (1993)


Yes, I put one song called Tennessee and another that mentioned Tennessee on the list already. Pure coincidence. In this song, Liz Phair (maybe just maybe my favorite songwriter ever, this despite her last album, Somebody's Miracle, which even I'm having a hard time defending) expresses the hesitancy of falling in love in one line ("I'm starting to actually feel it seep through the slick divide") both before and after confirming the very presence of love ("I can't imagine it in better terms than naked, half-awake, about to shave and go to work.") But before she gets too sentimental, the song descends into a mantra-ing of the final line - I won't decorate my love - repeated either 14 or 18 times, I can't remember.

9. Lovin' You - Minnie Riperton (1974)

The best vocal performance on the list. Here, love is expressed pretty completely within the opening four lines:

Lovin' you is easy ‘cause you're beautiful
Makin' love with you is all I wanna do
Lovin' you is more than just a dream come true
And everything that I do is out of lovin' you

This is followed by a half-human half-feline all-soprano "la-la-la-la-la..." and that's enough.

8. Two of Out Three Ain't Bad - Meat Loaf (1977)

A song that contradicts itself. Jim Steinman may have meant exactly what he said when he wrote:

I want you
I need you
But there ain't no way I'm ever gonna love you
Now don't be sad
Two out of three ain't bad

However, Mr. Loaf (as he is referred to by the style-consistent New York Times) delivers those words in a way where one and only one thing is clear: he loves her. You don't give a vocal performance like that if you're not in love. He may be lying through the whole chorus - he may not even want or need her. But he loves her. This much is true. You see, she's done him wrong. She's been cold to him for so long he's crying icicles instead of tears! The only way he can save face is to tell her he doesn't love her. But when you sing a song as desperately beautifully as that, love (if it's there) will always come through.

7. You Were Right - Badly Drawn Boy (2002)

Here, the singer admits that he's spent his life substituting music for love, mixtapes for flowers:

And I
Was busy finding answers
While you just got on with real life
Always hoped you'd be my wife
But I never found the time
For the question to arrive
I just disguised it in a song
And songs
Are never quite the answer
Just a soundtrack to a life
That is over all too soon
Helps to turn the days to night
While I was wrong and you were right

The two - music and love - aren't mutually exclusive (hence the existence of this list). But they can be if you're not careful (hence the existence of this list). Also, what propels this song from say, #12, to #7, is the way whatever-his-name-is transitions vocally from "I just disguised it in a song" to "And songs..." Perfect.

6. The Magic Beads - Jane Siberry (1982)

A gentle folk song. A wispy but resolute Canadian singer. A long distance love, with one (or both) of them running out of patience but not giving up:

Oh babe I conjured you up by mistake
I know that I'm supposed to wait
But when will I see you again?

She's singing to someone, a writer, in California (that's where all the writers are, they're a funny breed.) This is the most sentimental song on the list (except maybe for number one) but I have my sweet side. I do.

Monday or Tuesday - The Top 5!

1 comment:

my (name) is said...

re: 2 out of 3...

Yes, there is the matter of the final chorus in which Loaf sings of a woman who didn't love HIM, indicating that she endorsed those same 2 of out 3 feelings for him. He calls her his only love. This is interesting background information. But it doesn't change my thesis. He is the unreliable narrator.