#8 - This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody) by Talking Heads
I’m just an animal looking for a home
And share the same space for a minute or two
And you love me ‘til my heart stops
Love me ‘til I’m dead
David Byrne isn’t known for his love songs. This song is full of non-sequitars, but each line elicits a strong emotional reaction. At first I felt foolish identifying with the lyrics, like there was a subversive hidden meaning I hadn’t caught. As it turns out, David Byrne just wanted to write a love song that wasn’t corny, and I think he did a damn good job.
I can’t believe it took me so long to listen to Kelela. I’m so into this. I heard "Go All night" on the Saint Heron compilation, and I was really into it, but I’ve been so bad at listening to new music lately. Anyway, she’s playing two shows at The Echo in LA in April. One show is already sold out, but you can still pick up tickets for the April 1st show.
#7 - Drunk In Love by Beyoncé (ft. Jay Z)
I have a lot to say about Beyoncé and Jay Z as partners and as individual artists, but for the sake of brevity and my own sanity, I won’t get into it. I will, however, remind everyone that Beyoncé’s recent self-titled release is about feminism, relationships, and motherhood (among other things). It’s about how creating a child changes your relationship with your partner, and how the definition of love evolves. It’s about not feeling sexy because your feet are swollen from carrying a bowling ball all day, but also being so god damn attracted to your partner that you tear off each other’s clothes before you can make it to the bedroom.
Remixes by The Weeknd, Kanye West, Diplo and James Blake:
#6 - Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow by The Shirelles
And a cover by Lykke Li:
I featured both versions of the song because I couldn’t decide which I felt more strongly about. Lykke Li’s cover is dragged out and painful, but intentionally so and in a really great way. This isn’t a quiet song. The question she asks is straight forward. If we sleep together tonight, will this mean anything in the morning? Will you still love me tomorrow? On the other hand, The Shirelles version is less forlorn. It hints at sadness, but it’s still a pop song. It glosses over the sadness with big hair and a made-up face.
#5 - Got Somebody To Dream About by Summer Twins
In honor of Valentine’s Day, today’s Google Doodle features candy hearts with snippets from old episodes of This American Life. It covers the various stages and facets of love. In the first heart, “CRUSH”, we hear from a girl who had a crush on this guy at school for four years. One day, she sneezes, and he tells her that she has a cute sneeze, and that compliment has her reeling for days, and she replays the incident, over and over again, for her friends. It’s at that stage of crushing where one becomes weirdly obsessive. The crush is placed on a pedestal and he/she/they are physically incapable of doing wrong in your eyes. It’s delusional and naive, but also very innocent and kind of sweet.
#4 - La Vie En Rose by Laura Weinbach
Laura Weinbach is part of of the San Francisco-based band Foxtails Brigade. She’s also the sister of comedian Brent Weinbach. I recommend listening to the original version that was popularized by Edith Piaf. There’s also an english version of the song by Louis Armstrong. Most recently, the “mother” in How I Met Your Mother does a moving and sad cover at the end of the episode, “How Your Mother Met Me”.
Do you have a favorite version of “La Vie En Rose”?
#3 - Love is Strange by Mickey and Sylvia
It’s Valentine’s Day.
I watched Mean Girls last night, and I got really irritated during the scene where the girls wear pink because for a brief moment, I felt like I had been tricked into watching a Valentine’s Day themed movie. I appreciate the sentiment of the season. I am obnoxiously self-satisfied by my own thoughtful gift-giving. And ok, I wasn’t expecting anything today, so when I saw a small card and candy that a friend left on my desk this morning, I might have been briefly swept with joy. But by noon, I’ve been pumped with cookies and candy and desserts dyed pink, and now I feel sick.
Love is strange.
#2 - The Moon Song by Karen O ft. Ezra Koenig
Sometimes I think I’ve felt everything I’m ever going to feel, and from here on out, I’m not going to feel anything new, just lesser versions of what I’ve already felt.
—Theodore Twombly (her, 2013)
I asked a friend what she thought of her, the new Spike Jonze film. She said that she didn’t care for love stories. It was a strange response to the movie because, yes, it’s sold as “her: A Spike Jonze Love Story”, but it’s so much more than that. Jonze’s films—Being John Malkovich, Adaptation, Where The Wild Things Are, and even his 2010 short film, I’m Here—deal with themes of loneliness and identity. They’re films about being unhappy with who you are and the inability to fit in, or rather, being invisible in a crowd. her is no exception. Yes, it’s about love, but more specifically, it uses love as a solution to the problems of loneliness and identity. Being in love means you don’t have to come up with a way to pass the time because you’re spending that time with your partner. Being in love means you’re no longer lost. Love solves your identity crisis because even when you don’t know who you are, someone accepts you anyway. In the case of her, love is a means to an end.
The version of “The Moon Song” in the film by Joaquin Phoenix and Scarlett Johansson is a more intimidate rendition. Karen O’s original solo version feels lonely. But somehow, the newest version of this song with Karen O and Ezra Koenig feels even lonelier. Maybe it sounds sterile, but not necessarily in a bad way, but in a way that infers distance and space between them.
#1 - This Will Be Our Year by The Zombies
Today is the Lunar New Year, so it’s only appropriate that I pick “This Will Be Our Year” as the first song. I try not to buy into the new year sentiment of starting over because I firmly believe that you are a person with agency and are completely capable of doing what you want when you want, and you don’t need a designated day to make a change. But the line, “and we’ve only just begun” holds so much promise. It signals a world of possibilities, and it’s a set of possibilities that you get to share with someone.
I first heard The Zombies when I was 14. Hellogoodbye played a cover of "The Way I Feel Inside" at a show. I loved it, but then promptly forgot about it until I heard it again on The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. Oh god, this song speaks to me on so many levels, mostly because I am awesome at internalizing romantic feelings.
"This Will Be Our Year" appears on Odessey and Oracle.
69 Love Songs
"69 Love Songs is not remotely an album about love. It’s an album about love songs, which are very far away from anything to do with love.”—Stephin Merritt