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Unusual Love Songs
There is no such thing as a “normal” love. All love is strange, and every love is unique. Most people can relate to songs like “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” by the Beatles or daydream love songs like “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” by the Beach Boys, songs that idealize love. But Love is usually not ideal, and it can cause some pretty strange circumstances. Sometimes those unusual circumstances are the ones that can shed the most light on a concept, though, so here is a list of strangest, most unusual love songs AV could find.
We all know just how dark and twisted Kayne West’s love life is, now that he laid it all out on his latest album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. The album features a slew of songs about rough, anonymous sex and the corrupted hip-hop star often brags about his superiority over most lovers. But when it comes to real emotion, “Blame Game” is his most sincere because it shows the controversial rapper’s vulnerability. He outlines a dysfunctional relationship as he bounces back and forth between love and hate for a mystery woman. He uses a sample of Aphex Twin’s “Avril 14th,” a painfully beautiful piano line, as a foundation for this strange make-up song, which ends with a three-minute rant from comedian Chris Rock about the greatness of his girlfriend’s genitalia.
With a foreboding organ and an arrangement that could be taken from a spaghetti western, Dylan begins: “I’m wakin’/Through streets that are dead/Walkin’’/With you in my head”. Uh oh. This kind of love doesn’t sound good at all! The master of turning lyrics on their head, Dylan crafts a contemplative, dark-hued almost existential feeling anti-love song where love sickness isn’t a bit of queasiness in the stomach or a slight cough but a flesh eating bacteria that starts from the heart and eats its way outward.
“Let Me Kiss You”
Morrissey is the king of loneliness, so when he sings about unrequited love he does so in the most heartbreaking manner possible. “Let Me Kiss You,” from his 2004 album You Are the Quarry, is a plea to a would-be lover for just one kiss, but his plea is a rather pathetic one. “Close your eyes, think of someone you physically admire, and let me kiss you,” he sings with a sad moan. Morrissey can’t imagine anybody else finding him physically attractive, but on this lonely track he shows that he balances out his self-loathing with an open heart. The irony? There are lots of people out there who are probably picturing Morrissey while they kiss their own lovers.
“So Sincerely Yours”
Sonic’s Rendezvous Band
There’s a double reason for this one as a February 14 favorite. Issued as part of a 2000 release, City Slang, this recording from a live show in February 1978, Fred “Sonic” Smith intros by saying, “I wanna take this opportunity to wish everyone Happy Valentine’s Day because you’re all such sweethearts…” but it’s also easy to imagine Smith writing this searing guitar tour de force as a punk-fuelled rock and roll love letter to his future wife Patti Smith, who he first met right around this time. The passion rooted in this song comes not just from the once MC5 six-string slinger “Sonic” Smith’s lyrical musings but also from his positively scorching guitar.
It certainly takes a pretty confident in his relationship and perhaps all too honest guy to admit to his lover that he had a dream about killing and burying her. Oh yeah and then mentioning that the whole thing “felt alright”? Well, that’s just what Jeff Tweedy’s narrator does in “Via Chicago.” What exactly is this song about? Is it a dream within a dream? Is it a self-reflexive exercise in the turning nighttime’s waves of subconscious into art? It’s hard to pin down for sure but it serves as a beautiful surrealist, widescreen pop tone poem bathed in a woozy drowse perfected in Tweedy’s bending lyricism and the late Jay Bennett’s majestic piano.
This is a love anthem for all of the nerds, geeks, and dweebs out there, but also one that many people could relate to in this era of computer dating. Kraftwerk wrote this computer love song in 1981, a few years before the first Macintosh computer was released, as part of their album Computer World. The voice in this slightly ahead of its time love song cries out for real human interaction, as they sit in front of their only friend, the computer, completely unable to understand the dating game.
“Picking Up After You”
Tom Waits and Crystal Gayle
From Waits’ Oscar nominated soundtrack to Francis Ford Coppola’s 1982 film One From The Heart, it’s a he said/she said battle of wits between a couple who act like they can’t live with each other but clearly can’t live without each other. The gruff and tumble Waits tosses his best barbs (“You look like you spent the night in a trench/How long have you been combing your hair with a wrench?”) at Gayle who smolderingly volleys them back at him all over a spare backdrop of piano and trumpet. Through all the threats and jabs, this sounds like a couple that fees on the drama of the fight only to watch it boil over into that hot, steamy and juicy love.
“House of Cards”
Radiohead aren’t necessarily known for their love songs, so when Thom Yorke writes one, you know that there must be a twist. The twist on “House of Cards” from Radiohead’s 2008 album In Rainbows, is that the narrator sings this sexy and affectionate love letter to a married woman. He asks her to “forget about her house of cards,” her life with her husband and family, and run away with him, leaving it all behind. He asks his lover to turn their affair into a life together, a bold request.
“Teach Me How To Fight”
Junior Boys mastermind Jeremy Greenspan is a normal guy, with a pot belly and a mismatched wardrobe. He has lived life and loved, but those loves have come and gone. On “Teach Me How To Fight,” from the Junior Boys 2004 album Last Exit, Greenspan yearns for a love unlike all others, one that is so dramatic, so intense that even the lovers quarrels are passionate, though painful. He pleads to his would be lover to show him what it’s like “to give that pain,” knowing that they will inevitably make up and strengthen their love even further. It’s not just the words that make this song so emotionally impactful though, it’s the washed over, reverberated beats that capture his desperation.
“Baby I’m Just A Fool”
Jason Pierce is a guy best known for massed orchestral, damaged psychedelic pop magnum opuses that rocket from hell straight to space. So what the heck is with this breezy, warm little organic ballad. Just wait because in classic Pierce form, it stretches to seven minutes and twists in several directions including his usual blowup of gorgeous instrumental chaos and freakout. What makes this an unusual or expected love song is that Pierce taps into a certain pathos that most of us all have. There’s this notion that sometimes we love someone too much. We will actually beat ourselves up over it, as the narrator does here. He’s trying to shrug the whole thing off but he can’t. Ultimately, we all know we have to give in and can’t fight it. At one point he sings, “So easy to hold your hand/So hard to let it show” but later changes it to “So easy to hold your hand/ So hard to let it go”.
“Take Ecstasy With Me”
The Magnetic Fields
“Take Ecstasy With Me” is a love song to a life long lover. The pair in this song have experienced everything there is to experience in love, from intimate moments like building gingerbread houses together, to epic adventures, to persecution for their love. Upon reflection of their love, singer Stephin Merritt invites his lover on a trip. Ecstasy is widely known for unleashing feelings of love, and was originally used in couples therapy, before street abuse caused the drug to be outlawed. A roll on E might be a risky idea, but there are not many woman out there who would turn down this invitation from Merritt’s golden baritone voice.
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