In love with love songs

I previously blamed Jordan Catalano, “My So-Called Life” and Buffalo Tom for my hopeless romanticism, but I’m not sure what came first: the love or the love songs.

Most pop songs, country songs … OK, any songs are about love or the loss of love or the lack of love … you get the idea. So to even think about narrowing them to a list of my Top 5 Love Songs was a little daunting, but I think I’ve done it. Granted, I’ll probably change my mind in a week or two (or a day or two … or an hour or two) — and you’ll probably disagree with every one — but here’s what I have for now:

1) “Romeo & Juliet” – Dire Straits
I am not indecisive in the least about this selection. This is easily one of my Top 5 Songs of All Time and it handily tops my list of love songs.

2) “Home” – Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros
It’s lovely, just … lovely. I think everyone longs for that feeling of being “home” with someone.

3) “Something” – The Beatles
Could there be a Top Love Songs list without this on it? Seriously? (Side note: Patti Boyd, about whom this song is written, is a personal hero of mine.)

4) “Heartbeats” – The Knife
It’s. So. Catchy. I haven’t heard much from this band, but I adore this song.

5) “Best I Ever Had” – Vertical Horizon
I hate myself for putting this on the list, but I can’t help myself; I get chills every time it comes on.

Honorable mentions:
True Affection” – The Blow
25 Years” – The Go Find
Nothing Better” – The Postal Service
My Favourite Book” – Stars
Nineteen” – Tegan & Sara

Crazy about Cher

I can’t really explain why I love this girl. Maybe it’s her versatility, maybe it’s her attitude, maybe it’s her look … or maybe it’s a combination of all those factors. Cher Lloyd is IT for me. She’s a strange mix of Lily Allen and Jay-Z. Or maybe Lily Allen and Nicki Minaj.

Lloyd competed on the British show “X Factor” last year and ended up coming in second. She should have won the whole thing, but the audience had a problem with her attitude. Frankly, if I were 17 and had that kind of talent, I would have had a lot more attitude than Lloyd ever did. But that’s beside the point …

I’m anxious to get my hands on her debut album, which is set to come out in November. Based on her first single “Swagger Jagger,” it will be predominantly hip-hop (which is far from my favorite genre), but I’m excited about it nonetheless. I think this girl is capable of great things (heck, she JUST turned 18) if her rendition of Sister Shakespeare’s “Stay” is any indication.

Under the covers

I’m a huge fan of covers — especially when the two bands involved sounds completely different or are from different eras. Obviously, not all covers are better, but there are a few exceptions to the rule, like Orgy’s take on “Blue Monday.” Say what you will, loyal New Order fans, the cover is better than the original. End of debate.

A friend (thank you, Tony) posted the Decemberists playing a Sugar song, part of a project by the A.V. Club to have bands cover a variety of songs selected by readers. Some of the combinations elicit a “Meh” response. But others … well, they made me giddy. They might not be as amazing as the original, but they’re certainly worth a listen. Let me know what you think about the pairings!

Ted Leo & the Pharmacists cover Tears for Fears’ “Everybody Wants to Rule the World”

The Clientele covers M.I.A.’s “Paper Planes”

Ben Folds covers Elliott Smith’s “Say Yes”

Maritime covers Depeche Mode’s “Enjoy the Silence”

Cursive covers Starship’s “We Built This City”

Help, I have done it again …

The way Sia sings that line … it’s so painful, so forced, so beautiful. Who hasn’t been in that place before? You messed something up or you made a horrible mistake. And in those moments after realizing what you’ve done and who you’ve become, you look for someone to hold you, wrap you up, unfold you.

I haven’t listened to much of Sia’s music, but this song sparked something in me today. I think I occasionally have those revelations, realizing that I’ve gone a bit off track or, in some cases, way off track. It takes a song like this to force me back on the right path.

My new obsession

I have no words. OK, I have very few words. I don’t need many; the lyrics say it all. And the video? Amazing. I worried it was going to get a little sketchy there in the first few seconds, but … wow. Love it.

Remember a few blogs ago when I talked about how I overindulge on songs? Yeah, this is the latest one. I think I’ve listened to it about 14 times now — just today.

Gotye – “Somebody That I Used to Know”

“Now and then I think of when we were together
Like when you said you felt so happy you could die
Told myself that you were right for me
But felt so lonely in your company
But that was love and it’s an ache I still remember

You can get addicted to a certain kind of sadness
Like resignation to the end
Always the end
So when we found that we could not make sense
Well you said that we would still be friends
But I’ll admit that I was glad that it was over

But you didn’t have to cut me off
Make out like it never happened
And that we were nothing
And I don’t even need your love
But you treat me like a stranger
And that feels so rough
You didn’t have to stoop so low
Have your friends collect your records
And then change your number
I guess that I don’t need that though
Now you’re just somebody that I used to know

Now and then I think of all the times you screwed me over
But had me believing it was always something that I’d done
But I don’t wanna live that way
Reading into every word you say
You said that you could let it go
And I wouldn’t catch you hung up on somebody that you used to know…

But you didn’t have to cut me off
Make out like it never happened
And that we were nothing
And I don’t even need your love
But you treat me like a stranger
And that feels so rough
You didn’t have to stoop so low
Have your friends collect your records
And then change your number
I guess that I don’t need that though
Now you’re just somebody that I used to know”

The songs that speak

The other day, I had a conversation with a friend who expressed surprise that most of the songs I listen to are clean, crisp and poppy. He saw me as harder, darker; my music choices — or at least those mentioned in this blog so far — didn’t correlate with how he viewed my tastes.

Initially, I was a little taken aback by his comment. First of all, I don’t see myself as particularly hard or dark. Secondly, I’ve never been keen on metal or hard rock. But then I started thinking about the songs that really speak to me, the ones that really elicit a reaction. They all have a dark edge and are a little harder than the songs I listen to throughout the day.

It’s interesting too that they’re kind of my go-to songs for certain emotions. Falling for a guy? The Cardigans’ “You’re the Storm” gets me every time. Feeling helpless? Oh, must be time for “Save Me” by Aimee Mann. Spiraling into depressing? Elliot Smith and “Needle in the Hay” will help that along. Aggravated? Get more fired up by listening to Brand New’s “Sic Transit Gloria.” And when it’s “Go Time” (you know what I mean), She Wants Revenge’s “Tear You Apart” will take it to the next level.

For me, at least, they’re all songs with very specific messages. What songs do you connect with? Or use to bring out a particular emotion or energy?