General Thoughts,  Pop Culture

Day 8: Countdown of my favorite love songs (stories)

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Welcome to day eight of my ten-day series of Valentine’s Day-inspired blog posts. Yesterday, I wrote about my favorite songs featuring messages to new lovers.

Today, I will focus on love songs that tell a story. There are tons of songs out there that tell a story, but I will focus on my favorites, which all represent love to me in some way.

I think all songs are poetry, but not all poetry translates into songs. Songs evoke an emotion in the listener. These songs tell a story, whether simple or complicated, that touches my heart.

1. “Fast Car” written and performed by Tracy Chapman (1988).
I think Tracy Chapman is one of the best singer-songwriters out there today. Her lyrics are incredible with a voice to match. There’s no autotune going on with her. Here music and lyrics bring depth and soul to her blues-inspired songs. I love “Fast Car” so much because Chapman takes us through the tale of two young lovers from the beginning of their lives together through their mature years.

You got a fast car
Is it fast enough so we can fly away
We gotta make a decision
Leave tonight or live and die this way

She paints a picture of two young kids living in a dead-end town, feeling their lives and spirits being sucked away. I think she really likes him, but she’s loving him because he has a way to help her escape her life.

I remember we were driving, driving in your car
Speed so fast I felt like I was drunk
City lights lay out before us
And your arm felt nice wrapped ’round my shoulder

She feels comfortable with him. With him, she feels hope for their future. She thinks that as long as they have each other, everything will turn out better for them than it did for their parents. Did it work out? Listen to the song to find out.

2. “Say You Won’t Let Go” performed by James Arthur (2016), written by Arthur, Neil Ormandy, and Steve Solomon.
I remember hearing this on the radio for the first time and sitting in the car waiting for it to end. I’ve done that with so many songs. I pulled out my phone and used an app (Shazaam) to find out who the singer was. I love this simple love story of a man falling in love with a woman the first night he meets her.

I met you in the dark
You lit me up
You made me feel as though
I was enough

They met at a party or club, where they’d both been drinking. She lit up his whole world and didn’t make him feel self-conscious about needing to be better or be someone he wasn’t. He takes her home and takes care of her in her inebriated state, knowing that he’s already fallen in love with her. So what’s a guy to do? Write a love song to her so the whole world will know.

Now everybody knows
That it’s just you and me
Until we’re grey and old
Just say you won’t let go

He’s declared his love for her, and he tells her all about the life he’s imagined for them and begs her never to let go. It’s a heartfelt and beautiful story.

3.”Honey and the Moon” written and performed by Joseph Arthur (2003, rereleased 2007).
I love everything about this song. The music. The lyrics. The heartfelt declaration by Arthur (no relation to James Arthur). I first heard this in the background of a movie and lost track of it. When it played again in the background of a television show in 2007, I looked it up based on the lyrics I remembered.

The woman Arthur sings about is having problems. Pretty major ones that he’s not sure he can help her with. Even so, he loves her more than anyone else.

Don’t know why I’m still afraid
If you weren’t real I would make you up

He’s nervous around her because she’s everything to him. He would invent her as the perfect woman if she didn’t already exist.

Remember when we first met
And everything was still a bet

He’s trying to remind her their past. When they met, they were innocent. Now, they’re adults and things are more complicated.

I think that you came too soon
You’re the honey and the moon
That lights
Up my night

Even though he loves her, he feels like their timing is off. Listen to the rest of the song to hear the other lyrics that indicate the woman might be depressed and/or suicidal.

Honorable mentions (listed alphabetically):

  • “100 Years” Five for Fighting.
  • “Brick” Ben Folds Five.
  • “Jack and Diane” John Mellencamp.
  • “Livin’ on a Prayer” Bon Jovi.
  • “Love Story” Taylor Swift.
  • “Meet Virginia” Train.
  • “You Can’t Hurry Love” Diana Ross and the Supremes.

Be sure to look for the next post tomorrow featuring sweet declarations of love and admiration.

Thank you for reading. What’s your favorite love story song?

-Brandi Easterling Collins

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