Courtesy of being tagged by Kachina over at A Whiter Shade of Pale comes this meme asking you to list your top ten favorite love songs. I think it was originally meant for Valentine's Day, but is only just now making its way here. This meme is more difficult for me than most, because most of my adventures in love have ended up being the absolute worst times in my life. It would be all too easy to pick the most depressing songs I could find and shove them in a list, but that's kind of like cheating, and so I'll put a little more work into it.
So as not to offend the meme-hating masses, my answers are in an extended entry...
- "Pictures of You" by The Cure. Inarguably one of the greatest albums of all time, The Cure's Disintegration rips through the perils and wonderment of love as no other album can. At the height of it all is the crushing lyrics and consuming musical score that makes Pictures of You the greatest love song of all time. I get chills every time I hear it, and all the beauty and heartache that makes being in love so uniquely human come rushing back to me.
Lyric Memory: "If only I'd thought of the right words, I could have held on to your heart. If only I'd thought of the right words, I wouldn't be breaking apart... all my pictures of you."
- "If You Were Here" by Thompson Twins. This sublimely haunting tune by one of my favorite groups had already been a favorite before I ever heard it at the end of the film Sixteen Candles. But after that scene when Jake kisses Samantha over her birthday cake, it transcended to something far more than "just a song," and somehow encapsulated "love" as an abstract to me (because you really have to ponder those lyrics to see how love enters into the picture).
Lyric Memory: "If you were here, I could deceive you. And if you were here, you would believe."
- "Higher Love" by Depeche Mode. It was very, very difficult to select just one Depeche Mode song for my list, because so much of their music captures the feeling of longing and desperation that comes from being in love. I fought over whether Higher Love or Mercy in You was going to be the one. Ultimately, I went with Higher Love because it was more literal in interpretation. On top of that, it's a great song.
Lyric Memory: "I surrender all control, to the desire that consumes me whole. Leads me by the hand to infinity, lies in wait at the heart of me."
- "Don't Worry Baby" by The Beach Boys. This song is perfect on so many levels that I have a hard time putting my feelings for it into words. The thing that makes me really love it is that the line "don't worry baby" is NOT the guy comforting his girlfriend as you would expect... it's instead the girl assuring some poor bastard that everything is going to be okay. That's love. As a side-note, this song was originally written by Brian Wilson for Ronnie Spector and, while it's a nice rendition, I've always preferred The Beach Boys singing it.
Lyric Memory: "Oh what she does to me. When she makes love to me. And she says don't worry baby."
- "I Love N.Y.E. by Badly Draw Boy. An achingly beautiful musical interlude from the amazing About a Boy movie soundtrack. I remember leaving the theater after having watched the movie and immediately going to the music store to purchase this CD. It is absolute magic, and highly recommended whether you liked the movie or not (but, seriously, how could you not like this film?). This particular track (short for "I Love New Year's Eve") is from when Hugh Grant's character was falling in love with the beautiful Rachel Weisz's character, and literally makes you feel what love is all about when you listen to it.
Lyric Memory: N/A.
- "At Last" by Etta James. Seriously... you have not lived until you've made sweet love to the unparalleled vocal stylings of Etta James crooning "At Last". I rediscovered this stunning work in the movie Pleasantville, and have been in love with Miss James ever since. Etta's sex on wax, baby.
Lyric Memory: "At Last, my love has come along. My Lonely days are over, and life is like a song."
- "Velvet" by a-ha. This song has a deeply personal meaning for me as to the bittersweet nature of love, but I think that just about anybody can appreciate what a lovely work it is. A close runner-up for a-ha from me would be "Time & Again" which is one of the most beautiful songs I've ever heard.
Lyric Memory: "Her touch would be tender, her lips would be warm. But when we're together, I'm always alone."
- "The Scientist" by Coldplay. From the very first time I heard this song, it struck a deep emotional cord that encapsulates love as a kind of sadness and longing that everybody has felt at one time or another. It still has that effect on me today.
Lyric Memory: "Nobody said it was easy, it's such a shame for us to part. Nobody said it was easy, no one ever said it would be this hard."
- "Closer" by Nine Inch Nails. Because love has a dark side, and there are times that love is governed by passion and need rather than your heart.
Lyric Memory: "I want to f#@% you like an animal, I want to feel you from the inside. I want to f#@% you like an animal, my whole existence is flawed. You get me closer to god."
- "You Surround Me" by Erasure. Ah yes. The girl who got away. This song smacks me in the face with all the depression of lost love every time I hear it. I will be the first to admit that this one probably won't push any buttons for very many other people but, since this is my list, it simply has to be here.
Lyric Memory: "Don't ever let me take you for granted, you've got your finger on the pulse of my soul. Let me place a kiss in the small of your back, love and protect you from the evils of this world."
The strange thing about making a list like this is that if I were to make a new one tomorrow, it would probably look entirely different.
Oh well. For anybody who cares, here are some other "love songs" that have/had meaning for me at one time or another...
Here Comes The Sun by Nina Simone; Somewhere Only We Know by Keane; End of the Innocence by Don Henley; Seven Seas by Sarah Brightman; Your Body is a Wonderland by John Mayer; Iris by The Goo Goo Dolls; Slave to Love by Bryan Ferry; Drive by The Cars; Come Undone by Duran Duran; Mandolin Rain by Bruce Hornsby; Until She Comes by The Psychedelic Furs; Bitter Sweet Symphony by The Verve; Miracle by Jon Bon Jovi; The Flame by Cheap Trick; The Promise by When in Rome; All I Want to Do is Make Love to You by Heart; Girlfriend in a Coma by The Smiths; Is Anybody Out There In Love by Boy Meets Girl; Hanging By a Moment by Lifehouse; Where Does My Heart Beat Now by Celine Dion; Sacrifice by Elton John; You've Got a Way by Shania Twain; Different Seasons by Johnny Hates Jazz; Take Me Away by Babble; Money Can't Buy It by Annie Lennox; Stop Crying Your Heart Out by Oasis; It Must Have Been Love by Roxette; I'd Die Without You by P.M. Dawn; Truly, Madly, Deeply by Savage Garden; and, lastly, I would be remiss to mention Every Breath You Take by The Police, which was at the top of the charts when I lost my virginity. Good times.