Happy Valentine’s Day to all. Today is the day to hear love songs.
There is perhaps no subject which has inspired more songs than love. Therefore, it is the subject which has inspired more terrible songs than any other. To compound the problem, love makes people lose their minds. In a recording studio, that means oversinging in abundance, and overproduction to match. Often, the pure emotion gets lost amidst the clutter of the arrangement.
Fortunately, there are also times when love conquers all, and the feeling shines through.
K D Lang: Miss Chatelaine
K D Lang has a big voice, and the production here uses a full band with strings. But, the strings are not a solid wall of sound overwhelming everything else; Lang uses a small section of strings where all the parts can be heard. And Lang has a voice which can carry this kind of arrangement without straining for the notes.
Miss Chatelaine tells of the exhilaration of a first kiss, and the excitement of the experience comes through loud and clear. The slow tempo allows the warmth that starts in the lips to suffuse her spirit in the course of the song.
John Hiatt: Have a Little Faith in Me
While we’re on the subject of first kisses, I can never hear this song without thinking of the climactic scene in the movie Benny and June. This is the song that plays while the title characters have their first kiss. The emotional barriers have been swept away, and love prevails. For me, this is the greatest screen kiss of all time.
Inexplicably, Have a Little Faith in Me was left out of the soundtrack album for the movie. I assume there was a problem with the rights, but, if it had been me, I would have done whatever was necessary to include it.
Jane Siberry: Lovin‘ Cup
Lovin’ Cup has a simple, almost simplistic, lyric. The song conveys a rush of joy that comes with the experience love; this joy is expressed almost entirely through the music. I think the message here is that, when in it comes to love, sometimes there are no words to express it.
Nanci Griffith: Love at the Five and Dime
That first rush of love is only the first step on a journey. Nanci Griffith takes on that journey, showing that their are missteps and obstacles along the way. But her protagonists are able to keep their love through music. I can think of no better way to end a post on love songs than this.
I would like to dedicate this post to the love of my life, my wife Janice.