Monday, 24 September 2012

Music not-theatre Mondays: Silly love songs

We're shaking things up today! Instead of a piece of theatre, I'd like to talk about a different form of music: love songs. Okay, some of them are from musical theatre, but the unifying theme here is love songs. Songs about love. Silly love songs.

1.       You and I by Ingrid Michaelson

Oh yes, they're on this list.
This is a fairly simple love song, but what sets it apart- for me- is that we know who these people are, and we know people like them. We can tell that they’re young, fairly idealistic, and the type of people who want to set out and change the world. The simplicity of the vocals and instrumentals (pretty typical of Michaelson’s songs, I’ve found) really help- the melody is simple and sweet, and the lack of frills means we end up focusing much more on the lyrics- which are all about the nice things this couple wants to do together, with each other and with other people. "Let's get rich and buy our parents homes in the south of France/Let's get rich and give everyone nice sweaters and teach them how to dance."

2.       Stray Italian Greyhound by Vienna Teng

I like this song because it covers a facet of love that I don't think gets covered very often- the scariness of it. Let's face it, love is scary! Sure it's also exhilitating and bubbly and giddy and all those things, but putting your emotional trust in another person is a pretty risky proposition. That's not to say it can't be a worthwhile one, but contemplating the idea isn't a thing of pure warm fuzzies.

I also love how much of a feel you get for the narrator here- someone who's been hurt before and is now confronting the idea of trusting and loving again. "But you had to come along, didn't you/Rev up the crowd, rewrite the rulebook/Where do I go when every no turns into maybe?"

She's Got You High by Mumm-Ra

This one just sounds so peaceful- like a lazy summer day. I know it's from (500) Days of Summer, which is avowedly Not A Love Story, but it's my list, and I'll include it if I want to. "What's this about? I figured love would shine through."

I Will Follow You Into The Dark - Death Cab For Cutie

This song is . . . sort of dark, I guess? I mean, in terms of the fact that it discusses death and dying. But the lyrics never really feel "DARK! SO DARK!" to me. Death in this song is a sort of quiet, gentle thing: "when your soul embarks." It envisions the afterlife as a vacant motel and dying as a rest after a long life. It refutes the idea that love is fear and instead lets the narrator decide for himself what path he wants to follow. It's a sweet song. "Just our hands clasped so tight/Looking for the hint of a spark."

Elephant Love Medley - Moulin Rouge!

Of course this is on this list. Of course this is on this list, and you know why? Dollars to doughnuts, when you hear "silly love songs," you think of this instead of the Paul McCartney version. At least you do if you're of my generation. Thanks to this movie, an entire generation of girls grew up believing that being a courtesan gave you consumption and also required rolling around on the floor and squealing to get a guy. Oh Baz Lurhman, what have you wrought? (But seriously, I love this movie.) "

Faster - Matt Nathanson

I think what we're all learning from this list is that I love bubblegum pop, and I am not ashamed. And that's all I have to say about that. "You taste like sunlight/and strawberry bubble gum."

Born To Run - Bruce Springsteen

Someday I hope to write a Bonnie-and-Clyde-esque story of robbers on the run. And it will be adapted into a movie, and the song playing over every single scene will be this song. And I will know I have done well in this life. "I want to know if love is wild/Babe, I want to know if love is real."

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