Monday, February 28, 2011

Love Songs
Reflections of a Numinous Presence
Romance & Beauty

I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,
or an arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadows and the soul.

I love you as the plant that never blooms
But carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
Thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
Risen from the earth, lives darkly in your body

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
So I love you because I know no other way
Than this; where I does not exist, nor you
So close that you hand on my chest is my hand
So close that your eyes close as I fall asleep
- Pablo Neruda

Neruda captures the spirit of deep dreamy love in the above Sonnet. He wrote it for his wife but the sentiment is universal and the feeling pure even holy. It is the type of love that intuits the innate loveliness in all human beings.

Songs of love can touch our very soul and captivate our hearts, minds and bodies. Music’s almost mystical power takes to another place. It moves us like a Jungian dance as the dancer goes deep inside herself, the heart pours out love and the mind creates a space of safety. In “Home of the Gentry” by Ivan Turgenev, the protagonist is touched deeply by a piece of music played on a piano. A passage describes its almost mystical power:
“The sweet passionate melody captivated my heart from the first note; it was full of radiance, full of the tender throbbing of inspiration and beauty, continually growing and melting away; it rumored of everything on earth that is dear and secret and sacred to mankind; it breathed of immortal sadness and it departed from the earth to die in the heavens.”

Music’s power cannot be objectified nor studied under a microscope. Its ability to evoke or manipulate emotions is almost inexplicable yet its influence on our feelings is universal. The emotional content of music is quite subjective, it may be emotionally powerful yet it may be experienced in different ways by the people who hear it. Still a love for music is a universal component of our culture and it appears to have importance in an evolutionary sense. It is theorized that music predates language.

Music is a apotheosis, a glorification of human life and the highest order of pure emotional expression along with the written word, oral history, poetry, painting and sculpture. I love all forms music and one of my favorite forms is the love song.

There must be reason for the enduring popularity of love songs
It could be the love song represents an intrinsic biological task to merge with others. And by merging ensure the survival of our species or maybe is fills our senses and lifts our spirits an imperfect world. Cloe Madanes once said that the perspective of a thoughtful and intelligent person is melancholia. Makes sense to me. Love songs often carry that type of dialectic of opposing forces - oneness is bliss; separation is dangerous.

Here is a non-definitive list of my favorite love songs.

One of the most to soulful and timeless Beatle love songs is In My Life. The lyrics bear repeating. John Lennon sings:

There are places I remember all my life though some have changed
Some forever not for better some have gone and some remain
All these places have their moments
With Lovers and Friends I still recall
Some are dead and some are living
In My Life I’ve loved them all

But of all these friends and lover
There is no one compares with you
And these memories lose their meaning
When I think of love as something new

Though I know I’ll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I’ll often stop and think about them
In my life I love you more

Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys created a masterpiece in 1966 when he penned God Only Knows with guest lyricist Tony Asher. The music is lush yet understated. The complicated melodic structure and harmonics perfectly underscore the message of a deeply felt love. Wilson on utilized a harpsichord and French horns on the song, instruments not typically associated with a rock & roll band. He was only 23 years old at the time

I may not always love you
But as long as there are skies above you
You never need to doubt it
I’ll make you so sure about it
God only knows what I’d be without you

If you should ever leave me
Life would still go on believe me
The world could show nothing to me
So what good would living do me

God only knows what I’d be without you

The Association is a great vocal band from the sixties/seventies.
Never My Love was released in 1967 and went up to #2 in the Billboard charts. BMI has credited the songs with the second most airplay in the 20th century for good reason, It is a great song:

You ask me if there’ll come a time
When I’ll grow tired of you
Never My Love
Never My Love

You wonder if this heart of mine
Will lose its desire for you
Never my love
Never my love

What makes you think love will end
When you know that my whole life depends
On you
Never My Love
Never My Love

Everything that Touches You goes a little bit deeper:

In my most secure moments I still can’t believe
I’m spending those moments with you
And the ground I am walking, the air that I breathe
Are shared at those moments with you

You love for real
You show the feel
Of everything that touches you

In the songs I’ve been singing quite often a phrase
Comes close to the feeling of you
But I never suspected that one of those days
The wish of the song would come true

You love for real
You show the feel
Of everything that touches you

You are of gracefulness, you are of happiness
You are what I would guess to be most like
What I’ve been singing in of
Love, Love , Love

Cole Porter wrote sophisticated jazzed up love songs such as I Get a Kick Out of You. It was featured in the Broadway musical Anything Goes but the definitive “hip” reading came from Frank Sinatra:

I get no kick in a plane
Flying too high with some guy in the sky
Is my idea of nothing to do
But I get a kick out of you

Some get a kick from cocaine
I’m sure that if
I took even one sniff
That would bore me terrifically, too
Yet, I get a kick out of you

One of my favorite obscure love songs is Can’t Find the Time to Tell You by Orpheus. It has a beautiful melody and sung in a clear baritone by leader Bruce Arnold.
Ba da da da da da
I Can’t Find the Time To Tell You

I look at your pretty face
And I fall in love with you
Fall in love with you
Every time I see you, yeah

Nightgowns of regal lace
That are flowin’ to the ground
Flowin’ to the ground
In a mist around you

OK – you had to be there,

Ray Davies wrote the definitive rock & roll love song in 1968 with his band the Kinks, Waterloo Sunset has a beautiful cascading sound and lyrics filled with longing and loneliness. Davies is experiencing love and contentment through watching two lovers escape from Waterloo to the other side of the River Thames

Dirty old river, must you keep rolling
Flowing into the night
People so busy, make me feel dizzy
Taxi light shines so bright

But I don't feel afraid
As long as I gaze at
Waterloo sunset
I am in Paradise

Every day I look at the world
From my window
[| From: |]
Chilly, chilly is the evening time
Waterloo sunset's fine

Terry meets July
Waterloo station
Every Friday night
But I'm so lazy don't want to wander
I stay at home with dad

But I don't feel afraid
As long as I gaze at
Waterloo sunset
I am in Paradise
Waterloo sunset's fine

Evanescence “My Immortal” is a triumph, a song of incredible depth and power about love, pain and loss:

I’m so tired of being here
Because your presence still lingers here
And it won’t leave me alone

These wounds won’t seem to heal
The pain is just to real
There is just too much that time cannot erase

I have tried hard to tell myself that you are gone
But though you are still with me

The Proclaimers wrote a different kind of love song. Some may not view it as such but I do. For my wife and I, it’s “OUR SONG”. I dig the incessant beat and irreverent lyrics - it is simply irresistible. Here’s a sample lyric:

And I would walk 500 hundred miles
And I would walk 500 hundred more
Just to be the man who walks a thousand miles
To fall down at your door

When I’m lonely, well I know I’m gonna be
I’m gonna be the man who’s lonely without you
And when I’m dreaming, well you know I’m gonna dream
I’m gonna dream about the time I’m with you
When I go out (when I go out), well I know I’m gonna be
I’m gonna be the man that goes along with you
And when I come home (when I come home), yes I know I’m gonna be
I’m gonna be the man that comes back home with you
I’m gonna be the man who’s coming home to you

The most tender love song I’ve ever heard is the quirky For Emily Wherever I May Find Her. The lyrics evoke poetic images are both obscure and sensuous. It has a dreamlike quality that underscores an existential loneliness. Art Garfunkel’s voice is heavenly.
What a dream I had
dressed in organdy
clothed in crinoline
of smoky burgundy
softer than the rain

I wandered empty streets down
past the shop displays
I heard cathedral bells
dripping down the alley ways
as I walked on

and when you ran to me
your cheeks flushed with the night
we walked on frosted fields
of juniper and lamplight
I held your hand

and when I awoke
and felt you warm and near
I kissed your honey hair
with my grateful tears
oh, I love you
oh, how I love you, girl
Eminem’s Love the Way You Lie is a tortured confessional. It’s Eminem’s voice throughout the breathtaking pounding rap. The minor key bridge sung by Rihanna, Eminem’s alter ego. This is about a deep abiding yet tortured love. It’s too strong, too possessive to survive.
Just gonna stand there
And watch me burn
But that's alright
Because I like
The way it hurts
Just gonna stand there
And hear me cry
But that's alright
Because I love
The way you lie
I love the way you lie
I love the way you lie

I can't tell you what it really is
I can only tell you what it feels like
And right now there's a steel knife
In my windpipe
I can't breathe
But I still fight
While I can fight
As long as the wrong feels right
It's like I'm in flight
High of a love
Drunk from the hate
It's like I'm huffing paint
And I love it the more that I suffer
I suffocate
And right before I’m about to drown
She resuscitates me
She fucking hates me
And I love it
Where you going
I'm leaving you
No you ain't
Come back
We're running right back
Here we go again
It's so insane
Cause when it's going good
It's going great
I'm Superman
With the wind in his bag
She's Lois Lane
But when it's bad
It's awful
I feel so ashamed
I snap
Who's that dude
I don't even know his name
I laid hands on her
I'll never stoop so low again
I guess I don't know my own strength

Just gonna stand there
And watch me burn
But that's alright
Because I like
The way it hurts
Just gonna stand there
And hear me cry
But that's alright
Because I love
The way you lie
I love the way you lie
I love the way you lie

Now it’s time ladies and gentlemen. For my favorite romantic love songs of all time. Drum roll please…

Johnny Mathis. Wonderful Wonderful. Mathis’ silky smooth vibrato and crystal clear diction is a perfect accompaniment to this jazzed up pop masterpiece. He recorded this song in 1956. Sherman Edwards composed the music and Ben Raleigh wrote the lyrics. The legendary Gil Evans was involved in the arrangement.

Sometimes we walk hand in hand by the sea
And breathe in the cool salty air
You turn to me with a kiss in your eyes
And my heart feels a thrill beyond compare
Then your lips cling to mine
It’s Wonderful, Wonderful
Oh so wonderful my love

Sometimes we stand on top of the hill
And we gaze at the earth and the sky
I turn to you and you melt in my arms
There we are darling only you and I
What a moment to share
It’s wonderful, wonderful
Oh, so wonderful my love

The world is filled with wondrous things, it’s true
But they wouldn’t have much meaning, without you

Some quiet evenings I sit by your side
And we’re lost in a world of our own
I feel the glow of your unspoken love
I’m aware of the treasures that I own
And I say to myself it’s wonderful, wonderful
Oh, so wonderful my love!

Happy Valentines Day

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