Love Songs in English Posted by Gary Locke on Feb 13, 2020 in Culture, Music and Song
Many of the greatest songs of all time are love songs. If you’ve ever been in love, or wanted to be, you’ve probably been touched by a love song. Oh, yes, you might say, that’s exactly how I feel! This is why couples often say, “They’re playing our song!” They found a song that perfectly expresses how they feel about each other.
But, let’s face it, no two couples are alike. Some might respond to Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You”, while another couple dances to Beyoncé’s “Love on Top”. There is no wrong love song for the right couple. My wife and I can get all mushy over “The Rainbow Connection” from The Muppet Movie, and that was originally sung by a plush frog.
Lyric and Melody
Any great love song needs to have relatable lyrics and a memorable melody. If the lyrics touch on a feeling in such a way that you believe that it speaks to you and for you, then the song resonates in your heart. It is personal. If the song’s melody can easily be recalled, then it has a musical quality that’s timeless. Combine the two and you have a song that, within the first few bars, makes you think of that certain someone.
I used to think that love songs were generational, meaning that someone born in the ‘60s won’t respond in the same way to a love song written in the ‘90s, for example. Maybe. But love hits us all at different times in our lives, and the song we each heard with our first love is likely to be very different from the song we first danced to with our ultimate soul mate. Fans of Billie Eilish may not relate to a Gershwin song or one by Burt Bacharach – yet! But, later on in life, the lyrics and melodies of those composers may reach them in ways they can’t now imagine. Likewise, Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You”, about newfound love, could sweep a couple in their 50s and on the rebound into each other’s arms.
This is Dedicated to the One I Love
There’s also something to be said for heartbreak. After a relationship has ended and the song those two people shared plays somewhere, emotions are triggered. This is what I mean about the songs becoming personal. Often, over time, the association the song has for you becomes something very different. Maybe, hopefully, the song will only conjure memories of the good times.
American radio is filled with listener dedication shows. Disc jockeys, or DJs, play songs requested by listeners who wish to dedicate the recording to their special someone. Legends like Wolfman Jack, Dick Clark, and Casey Kasem spun love songs on local and nationally syndicated stations for decades. Often, the dedication is to a lost love, a former husband, boyfriend, wife, girlfriend…the one who got away. Maybe he/she is listening right now, the dedication reads. Maybe the phone will ring again. Delilah Rene, better known simply as Delilah, has a nightly U.S. radio song request and dedication program, with an estimated 8 million listeners1https://www.cnn.com/2012/02/14/living/delilah-radio-host-profile/index.html. Her show features songs for lonely hearts, and can be emotionally powerful.
Because great love songs are so personal, my list of the best probably bears no resemblance to yours. Still, maybe you will hear a song on my list for the first time, or the 500th, and it will touch you in a way to make you think, Oh, yes. That’s exactly how I feel!