Monday, February 8, 2010

Valentine's Day Love Songs

I just submitted this article to my editors last night - it's fresh!  Check out some groovy love songs for this year's Valentine's Day!

Note: Perpetual Groove does an amazing cover of "This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)" - check it out!

Elizabeth Bayne '10
Red & White Senior Staff Writer

Gather ‘round the jukebox, lovers young and old.  I’ve got a bag full of tunes and I'm not afraid to use 'em.

In love?  Derek & the Domino’s ‘Layla’ is a classic rock and roll song about devotion to a woman named Layla.  Although the lyrics are compelling, the element that really kicks this love song into eternal greatness is the piano coda. Its beauty stands starkly contrasts the shredding guitar that it cuts out.  There are no words; there is no need for them.  The instruments do the talking, and they do it quite well.

‘This Must Be the Place’ by the Talking Heads celebrates a humbler sort of love.  It speaks of the realization that the place we call ‘home’ is not mandated by an address or a building – home is wherever and whenever we are with our loved ones.  It’s pretty deep stuff, and comes along with a great groove.  Not only is this tune classic Talking Heads, but it is also one of the happiest songs I’ve ever heard.

Love on the rocks?  The Grateful Dead has just the fix for you.  Bob Weir’s lamentations (occasionally supplemented by Donna Jean’s airy background vocals) throughout the tune ‘Looks Like Rain’ makes it a sadder love song than most.  The lyrics are about a man whose love has left him.  Although he is faced with the possibility that she “might not be sleeping here again,” he promises to “still sing her love songs written in the letters of her name.”  The kindness and selflessness in the lyrics reflect true love and devotion. 

What makes this tune a standout, however, is not the lyrics, but the magic of Jerry Garcia.  Throughout the song, Jerry, the lead guitarist for the band, shreds beautifully.  His playing reflects a type of pain and passion that cannot be put into words.  The real emotion in this song lies in the powerful combination of Jerry’s guitar and the soulful way the lyrics are delivered.

Got a love that’s gone for good?  Wallow in self-pity with Graham Nash’s beautiful little acoustic ditty 'I Used to Be a King.'  Although one of the group’s slightly less known tunes, it happens to be this humble music reviewer’s favorite.  There are a few emotional components to the song.  Nash reminisces about how “he used to be a king, but everything around him turned to rust,” and vows to never have his heart broken again, yet goes on to show a certain vulnerability with the confession that “late at night he misses her.”  This tune is a melancholy one, with the classic CSN touch of beautiful vocal harmonization.

Feeling even more reminiscent?  Try out Bob Dylan’s ‘Girl From the North Country.’  (I especially love Bruce Hornsby’s rendition – his voice lends itself nicely to his arrangement of the song.)  Dylan fondly describes a past “true love” and wonders if she still remembers him.  He asks that if anyone happens meet her, to “see if her hair [still] hangs long” and remind her of him.  This is a soft, beautiful song with a beautiful message.  Makes me smile every time.

Music is oftentimes the best medium to use to portray a certain emotion or how we feel about someone else, so why not check out these tunes?  They very well may come in handy.  xoxo!