Top 5: Favourite love songs

February 02, 2018

On friday morning my friend Martina shared on Instagram Stories her favourites love songs to listen to at any moment. That made me think about the list of my favourite love songs, a list I have curated over the last twelve, thirteen years and that has evolved over the last twelve, thirteen years. I'm sure the list will evolve again with time but for now, the songs I have selected, are the ones I feel closer.

The concept of "love songs to listen to at any moment" also made me think they don't have to be conventional songs. What makes a "love song" a love song? Do they necessarily have to had the word "love" in it? I personally think not. Do they have to be a declaration to a special someone? Depends, what do we understand by "someone special"? (it doesn't really have to be a partner, it can be a friend, a family member, etc). A love song doesn't necessarily has to be a song expressing how much we care about the other person or how good they made us feel. A love song can be a declaration of sentiments and those sentiments can be of anger, frustration, regret, sadness, loneliness. Heartbreak.

I think my list has a little bit of all things describe above, and in no particular order, I hereby present you my (not definite) list of love songs to listen to at any moment:

David Bowie - Heroes - Heroes - 1977

Of course, there is no way that I wasn't going to sneak a Bowie song on this list.
Bowie felt inspired by the sight of Tony Visconti (then married to Mary Hopkin) embracing and kissing Bowie's backing vocalist Antonia Maass by the Berlin Wall. The song tells the story of two lovers, one from West Berlin and one from East Berlin. Perhaps the first, although metaphorical, sledgehammer to the Berlin Wall. David Buckley has written that Heroes is "pop's definitive statement of the potential triumph of the human spirit over adversity".

When Bowie died two years ago, the german government thanked him for "helping them bring down the wall", adding "you are now among Heroes".

Favourite line:

"...I can remember... standing by wall... and the guns, shot above our heads, and we kissed, as thought nothing could fall... and the shame was on the other side..."

Paul McCartney-Maybe I'm amazed - McCartney -1970

I like to think that, despite McCartney has married twice since Linda died, he still hasn't get over her. As far as I know, nor Heather Mills nor Nancy Shevell have songs dedicated to them by the former Beatle.

Despite the lyrics, that are so honest and raw, what I like about this song is the interpretation, the way that it's sung. Listen carefully since the 1:38 second mark. Not to mention that when it was recorded, McCartney himself played all the instruments.

McCartney credits Linda with helping him getting through with The Beatles break up so he dedicated the song to her, as a thank you.

Favourite line:
"Maybe I'm amazed at the way you help me sing my song, right me when I'm wrong.... Maybe I'm amazed at the way I really need you..."

Sinèad O'Connor - Nothing compares 2 u - I do not want what I haven't got -1990

In the mid 80's, the late great Prince wrote this song for his project "The Family". Though it didn't have much recognition, because it wasn't released as a single, it became worldwide famous when the irish singer Sinèad O'Connor rearrange the song and released it as a single on her second album "I do not want what I haven't got".
The song explores the feeling of abandonment, of feeling alone, empty, that nothing could fill the void left by a former partner, that one can't help comparing or remember the other person and no matter what people might tell you to cheer you up, they know nothing. I'm pretty sure that we all have felt, not necessarily the same, but quite similar.

Favourite line:
"I went to the doctor and guess what he told me? He said girl you better try to have fun no matter what you do, but he's a fool"

Al Green - Let's stay together - Let's stay together - 1972

Let's stay together is a song that has been covered over 20 times. I have added it to the list mainly because I like the funkiness of the beat that add a naughty element to the song. I am not a good dancer, I have two left feet, and a set of very stiff moves but this songs makes me want to sway. That's always a good thing in my opinion. Then, there's the lyrics that evoke promises of commitment for good or bad times, in sickness or in health.  

Al Green didn't believe in the song when the producer Willie Mitchell present it to him in 1971, and even after it was recorded, Green wasn't happy with the result as he wrote in his autobiography because "I was mad about being forced into doing the song". 10 days after the song was released, it reached Nº1 in the american Billboard and remained on top of the chart for 16 weeks in 1972.

Favourite line:
"...loving you whether times are good or bad or happy or sad..."

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds -Into my arms - The Boatman's call - 1997

I have read in recent years that Into my arms is one of songs that brides ask to be played when they're walking down the aisle, to the shock of most priests. Nick Cave wrote the song during a very complicated stage of his life. He had separated from his wife Viviane Carneiro and had just broken up with P.J. Harvey and was starting dating his current wife, Susie Bick. It was his third day in a rehab clinic that allowed it's patients to leave only to attend church. That day, he tells Debbie Krugger in the book "Songwriters Speak" (2005) he wasn't feeling very good. He wrote the song in a hurry, had no place to play it, but the melody was stuck in his head. 

When Michael Hutchence died in november 1997, Nick Cave sat at the piano in the church and played this song. He requested all cameras to be switched off while he was performing for his friend.  The audience was captivated and three years later, when Hutchence widow, Paula Yates passed away, Cave was requested to play the song again at her funeral.

The song has convey a melancholic optimism that have become an ode to loss and sorrow.

Favourite line:
"...leave you as you are. If he felt he had to direct you, then direct you into my arms..."

I made a Spotify playlist with the songs discussed here and I have embedded to the post, so you can listen them while reading about them. 

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