Thursday, 16 February 2017

Love Notes ♫

Today is the Sixteenth of February. I wanted to write this for Valentine's Day, but I was a bit too busy watching TV on my own and eating chocolate.
If you're in a relationship, then I hope you gave your partner something nice, or celebrated the day with them as you usually do. If you didn't, then I'm here to inform you that that is probably the reason why your significant other looks so cranky today. Or, if you're single, then I hope you survived another day where your singledom becomes ever the more prevalent in the forefront of your mind.
Because for me, this latest Valentine's was actually pretty painful, because it was the first Valentine's Day in a long time where I was single.

Yeah . . . unfortunately, my Beloved, for whom I have referenced and spoken about, quoted and even done collaborations with on this blog for the last three years, broke up with me. On the second of February, close to midnight my time, it was the end of an era. We're still good friends and the breakup wasn't a hateful or messy one, but that creates its own set of issues because it means that I am forcing myself to keep my distance of her, so that I do not just obsess and harass her to come back to me. So, to help me move on and to give her space away from me to prevent me from becoming a crazy stalker, I have dived headfirst into the modern dating scene, and so far it's been an absolute pain in the arse (and no, not in that way, I'm straight; and even if I wasn't there's no way I'd be lucky enough to get a match after a fortnight).
I've already run into spammers, and scammers and whores (oh my). And no, that's not a pejorative, there's a somewhat sad habit of prostitutes, as in people that will sleep with you, or provide sexual services for money, that use dating websites to find clients.
I'm, not saying it's sad for the whores themselves, they are providing a valuable service and hot girls need to buy groceries as much as the next person, but it's sad because it clearly works, or there wouldn't be so many. I mean, I use dating apps to find love, but clearly there are enough people here just for sex that "fuck it, I'll just pay for it" seems like a better option.

But I've learned recently, that I'm not really "good" at being single. I've been comfortably taken for over three years, so it is a genuine struggle that I now have to actually try to find another human being that can tolerate me. And you bet I'm not shameless enough not to advertise myself on this blog - if you're single, live in the South Brisbane area and think I'm interesting, feel free to get in touch. I'm just looking for a cute, dark girl to love me whom I can love in return . . .

Anyway, that's not what this post is about. So, what am I going to write? Well, last time I was single, I wrote a list of good romance movies that guys could enjoy. So, I wanted to do something similar this year, around music, since a lot of people love a good love song. However, that's the trouble, a lot of people do love Love Songs . . . guys included. And music is so often a very personal thing with personal tastes and preferences to consider. But, I still wanted to talk about some good love songs. So, rather than something for everyone, this is one just for me.
I decided to write a list of the love songs that I like. So, this may not be useful for you, but it doesn't take long to listen to a couple of songs, so why not check these out? I went through over a dozen lists of the "Top 100/50/25 Love Songs of All Time/2017/the 90's", and from it I collected these songs, all of which I really enjoy and think you should too.
Thus, without further ado, here are some Honourable Mentions:

00. Your Body is a Wonderland - John Mayer
I quite enjoy this song, personally, which is odd because the list I found it on listed it as one of the Worst. That's not to say that I care what someone else thinks, I still enjoy this song, but it's only an honourable mention because this isn't really about love, it's mostly about sex and sensuality. So, no, it's not really a 'love' song. For that same reason, I didn't include I'll Make Love to You by "Boyz II Men", breakup songs or other non-standard love songs. But even if this was a proper love song, it's still not one of my favourite romantic songs, since the guitar is a bit dull, but the lyrics, tune and singing is (for the most part) quite enjoyable.

00. Take Care - Drake (& Rihanna)
This is an amazing song. One of my favourite songs of all time, and I mention it honourably because the premise of the song is a couple that wants to get together, there's love there and they care, but the girl's so hurt . . . she can't connect as much as she could and as much as she desires. And the guy, he's pushing, he's pulling through as best he can, but there's resentment from the coldness of the woman he loves. There's so many emotions, so much complexity, a great representation of a real relationship . . . but, I just can't call it a "love" song. This is a great song, a relationship song, a song about real romance. But, love, no . . . not Valentine's Day love, so unfortunately it was pushed aside by songs which, although not as good as songs, were more representative of love.

00. Super Bass - Nicki Minaj
This song, believe it or not, is actually a love song, and I quite enjoy it. It has a good beat, a fun attitude and I appreciate the lyricism of the rap, not to mention it is pretty sweet when you think about it. The 'super bass' being referred to is actually a heartbeat, when you're in love, "Boy, you got my heartbeat runnin' away", it's about being in love, and the song is all about Ms Minaj elaborating upon the men she loves attractive, and in the last few stanzas it becomes much more heartfelt. So, I quite like it, and I truly believed it would be my number ten on this list, but it turns out that I actually like ten other songs a lot more than this song, go figure . . .

The A.W.N.'s Top 10 Favourite Love Songs

10. The Other Side - Jason Derulo
I must admit, I am a fan of modern pop music, so if you only listen to music from twenty years ago, you may find some of this list disappointing. But something that annoys me about love songs are when they're too poetic, too bombastic and too . . . well, bullshit. "Love is a battlefield"? "Love is an open door"? "Love is my religion"? Well, in reality, love is a mutual attraction between people. That's why I like modern songs that speak of something more realistic. Like this song, where love comes about because two friends take their relationship a step further.
It helps a lot that the song has a great, energetic beat and some of the lyrics are actually kinda sexy. Sure, it falls for the common "sex equals love" trope, but the fact that these two start off as friends alleviates that. Not to mention, it's so full of hope and fun, I can't help but enjoy this lively R&B love song.

At first, I thought this was the song from Con Air. Turns out, that's "I can't Live Without You", and this song is actually from Armageddon. It's a shame, because I hate Armageddon, but this song is amazing. That slow piano, with the beating drums, and those strained, emotive vocals of Steven Tyler. But my favourite part is, whilst the song sounds enormous, it's about such a sweet but simple idea: "I wish I didn't have to sleep, so I could spend more time with you." come on, that's cute. It is also a little bit cringey and perhaps creepy if you think about it, but this song takes itself too seriously to even entertain the thought that this is wrong.
But, why is it so low? Well, to be honest, the strings aren't that crisp and I also find Mr Tyler's shrieking near the end of the song quite distracting.
  "Cause even when I tryyy! YOW!" Geez, did someone just rip out your eyelash? Either way, it's very unsettling.

08. When You Say Nothing At All - Ronan Keating
Okay, yeah, I can fall victim to a classic. And this song, from the sultry swoon of Ronan Keating to the irish lilt of the flute solo, it's a great song. About the fact that couples know each other so well, they can read each other's body language like an open book. It's a great, quietly romantic song that has a quiet, gentle rhythm to suit it. Of course, there are some flaws (or it would be higher) for me, the main line of the song could be a touch ambiguous. "You say it best when you say nothing at all" could easily be interpreted as "I really prefer it when you shut up". That's . . . less romantic. Also, it does tend to be a bit repetitive. In fact, that's why that line sounds kind of rude, to me, after hearing it so many times, you start to hear it in different ways. But, if you can ignore that, this is a great and sweet love song.

07. The Rose - Westlife
Yes, I know, it's sacrilege that I prefer the Westlife cover over the Bette Midler Original, how dare I? Well, let me explain . . . I do enjoy the original, but I say this is better for two important reasons. Firstly, because I think Westlife's voices are better suited to this style, soft and heartfelt rather than Bette Midler's voice, designed to sing loud and project. Secondly, the middle of this song needs a powerful chorus to bust out, building up to that "When the night . . . has been too lonely, and the road has been too long", and since Westlife is a group, they can achieve that much better than a single singer, even when Bette Midler sings this with someone else, four singers just rising to that crescendo of sound is what this song needs, and Westlife delivers.

06. Just the Way You Are - Bruno Mars
I have to admit, one of the reasons I like this song so much is because when I first had a crush on a girl, this song spoke volumes to me. Just seeing a girl and thinking she's perfect in every way, I felt that and understood wanting to serenade her natural beauty. What lets this song down, however, is reality. Because every single girl I've spoken to that's beautiful . . . she knows. It wasn't a surprise. Women own mirrors, y'know. And since this song is talking about the whole world stopping when she smiles, yeah, this girl knows she's gorgeous.
However, the sentiment still matters. Because it's not really about the girl, but the guy. He's expressing how he feels, and I think that's lovely. Who can't love that?

05. Never Tear Us Apart - INXS
I didn't realize there would be so many classics on this list, after all I'm all about modern pop music. But looking through those old lists of classic songs, whilst I am not a fan of Aretha Franklin or the likes, some of those songs stood out. This one, in particular. So much of it just has to be that rhythm. And whenever it gets to that saxophone solo, I get shivers. This song is such a slow, melodious march, that reaches a peak with that guitar riff and drums. Unfortunately, the lyrics are repetitive and it ends with a fadeout. I hate when songs fade out, "When You Say Nothing At All" did too, but that was a gentle song. Fading from a song this powerful should be blasphemous.

04. The Book of Love - Peter Gabriel
This actually comes from the previous list. I first heard this song because of Shall We Dance?, and I love this song. See, as I've said before, I prefer love songs that are more realistic. And sure, whilst this is clearly more poetic by talking about a book that epitomizes love, the book is described as containing "charts, and facts and figures" and being "long", "boring" and "dumb", but it also contains music, flowers, arcane knowledge and instructions for dancing. Peter Gabriel's singing and the gorgeous orchestral backing is what sells this simple poem-turned-ballad. What keeps this from the top spot is that it feels lacking. The lyrics, whilst good, leave me wanting more. It's a song half-written, and I want to hear the rest.

03. Sledgehammer - Fifth Harmony
Sorry, but I couldn't keep it up. I love the classics, and I do adore those powerful ballads . . . but my heart and soul dances to the beat of pop music. And that beat, that hook, those vocals, they sing to me in more ways than one. I have had a soft spot for love songs that speak about the visceral, physiological aspects of love. And whilst heart palpitations don't sound romantic, writing a song based around having a lovestruck heartbeat resonates with me. And there's something so endearing about how these girls are trying to hide their feelings, but it's so strong. That's a good love song, about being unable to contain yourself. I love this song, but there are a few that I love even more.

02. I Love You Always Forever - Betty Who
I have to admit, I never really liked the Donna Lewis version. I'd heard it enough times on the radio that it was stuck in my brain. But it was too soft, airy and dreamy, I could barely hear the lyrics, and that "chugga-chugga" beat is so weak.
But, this new version by Betty Who? Firstly, with the opening silence, those lyrics become so crisp and poignant,
It removes the dull beat for an electronic pulse, and because of the processing on the singer's voice, every line of the words is that much clearer, and when the words are clear, you can hear the poetry of those lyrics, it's great. But . . . it's a little too poppy for me, a little too electronic. For my number one, it's a bit too overproduced and whilst I enjoy the sharp, crisp quality of the music and vocals, it is the product of design moreso than emotion. And that's not the song's fault, the song is amazing for what it is, but it's not my number one . . .

01. Your Love Song - Angela Aki
I couldn't find a version of this song on YouTube, and it's by a Japanese artist, so I don't think you've heard this song before, and for that reason I hope the link works. But this is my absolute favourite love song. Firstly, despite being a native Japanese speaker, this song is sung in English with not only perfect diction, but with powerful emotion and (if I'm honest) a sexy, womanly voice. And although some people don't like "solo girl playing piano" songs, the piano is part of the song.
See, the premise is that this girl is a piano player, and she wants to write a love song, she has someone that she loves, but he doesn't love her back . . . yet. So, this is a song about a girl in love that wants to be loved back, so that the song she's singing could be his love song. And I adore the hook of this song, those lyrics are haunting and the sad but hopeful tune tells the story as much as the lyrics; then that instrumental piano solo at the end, it isn't so much about the instrument, but the emotion behind it. It's a heart solo, a heart beating alone, waiting for another. I can't think of a single way to improve this song, to alter it is to ruin it. It's perfect, and that's why it's my favourite love song.

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So, those are my favourite love songs. At least, for now, perhaps more and better songs will be written in the future. And perhaps you know songs I've never heard before. Feel free to mention them, or link to them, in the comments section below; if you agree, disagree or have something to say, that's what the comment section is for.
I'm the Absurd Word Nerd, and I hope you enjoyed this "playlist" of Valentine's Day love song favourites. Until next time, if you'll excuse me, I'm on the prowl looking for a future Mrs Absurd Word Nerd. And I'm genuinely serious when I say, if you're keen, feel free to get in touch.

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