5. Some of the Best Love Songs

21 September 2020

These days I spend a lot of time in my car, thinking vapid thoughts and listening to music while I cruise around the fever dream that is Los Angeles, and I’ve come to this conclusion: love songs truly make it all worthwhile, and I need to write about this.

I would like to posit that there is no such thing as a bad love song, because love is beautiful. Still, here are a few that I personally think go above and beyond. They exceed expectations. They’re not going to get a promotion because there’s no room for that at the company at the moment, but they’re definitely getting a shoutout in a private Slack channel at work. Let’s dive in!

First and foremost, “Only in Dreams” by Weezer. I might even go so far as to claim that this is the best love song of all time, period. Most love songs are about the singer being in love and singing about whoever they’re in love with, which definitely makes sense as a format. But “Only in Dreams” is about the listener being the person in love. You, the listener, you’re being addressed in this song, you’re the one with the desires, the awkwardness, all of it. Though really, it is the singer who’s in love, but he’s displaced his feelings because sometimes it’s easier that way, isn’t it? It’s the song version of “asking for a friend”.

In fact the whole song is awkward. It gets overly scientific (“between molecules of oxygen and carbon dioxide”) and strangely violent (“that way there’s no way I will crush your pretty toenails into a thousand pieces”). It’s unpolished, but that’s love! You overthink things, you feel weird, you say something that comes off as creepy because, well, this person has been in your dreams, and that kind of imprint on your mind makes you a whole ass freak when you try to talk to them.

Finally, the best part of this best love song are the two crescendos (hopefully that’s the right term, don’t correct me if I’m wrong, I never want to learn anything again). First when he sings “only in dreams” over and over, each time more desperately. And after that, the most beautiful caressing wave of pure instrumental emotion. No more words. You just feel it. Perfection.

In keeping with the theme of the awkward violence of love, “Wuthering Heights” by Kate Bush is another one of the greats. She was 18 or 19 when she wrote this song based on the book, which is incredible. It’s so bookish and earnest. Only a teenage girl could have attempted this, overwhelmed with emotions that would later get tempered in adulthood but also old enough and sharp enough to understand the strangeness of the human psyche. When she sings “How could you leave me/When I needed to possess you?”, I mean, that resonates. “Ooh, let me have it/Let me grab your soul away”??? Yeah. Yeah. In a way that’s the ugly side of love, the delirious greed, the absolute mania. Wanting a person so completely it feels possessive. It’s not healthy, of course, for you or for that person, but it’s true. This has the same energy as looking at all of your crush’s Instagram posts back to 2015, which we’ve all done, don’t look at me like that.

Another angel who blessed us with a god-tier love song is, of course, Britney Spears, with, of course, “…Baby One More Time”. All I have to say about this one is that one of the most sublime works of art you can ever see are the words “My loneliness is killing me” on a karaoke screen and everyone who’s experienced this knows I’m right.

Moving on to something more avantgarde, “Moments in Love” by Art of Noise is utterly iconic. This one’s a slow burn but well worth it. It has that dreamy 80s synth sound that makes you feel like you’re walking in slow motion through a fog machine. It’s very tender. Soothing. And then! Near the end! Sudden dissonance, everything stops, someone starts pleading “No! no!” and everything turns sinister and terrifying but then… back to the dreaminess. What do you make of this? I mean really, think about it, how does that make you feel? Have you ever loved someone so much you were terrified? What if something bad happens to the person you love, or what if you do something wrong and they don’t love you anymore? Even at its most pure, love is still tinged by that darkness. It’s just the way it goes.

Okay! Last song! I gotta stop somewhere. And I realize these songs all have a bit of a sad side to them, which is my powerful goth energy seeping through everything. Well here’s one that is wonderfully upbeat and straightforward: “Music Sounds Better With You” by Stardust. Because love is the best thing, and music is the best thing, and listening to good music with someone you love? Well… :’)

Thanks for reading and please send me some love songs YOU enjoy!! Nothing would make me happier.