“January Wedding” by the Avett Brothers has me thinking about love songs. Here it is:
Is it just me or are these lyrics super lame?
She keeps it simple and I
Am thankful for her kind of loving
Because it’s simple…
The song is full of bland, prosy expressions and awkward clashes where the emphasis falls on unstressed words like “and.” This is not, I think, because the Avett brothers are ignorant–they have an educated following and get played on my local NPR music station (The Current, www.thecurrent.org, worth checking out). Instead, they seem to be carrying out a mission of ostentatious artlessness, but carrying it out a little too well for my taste.
So I was thinking about love songs with lyrics that do seem to me artful and interesting, and I noticed that the first few that came to mind were all pretty old. I don’t like to think that I’ve become deaf to contemporary music, like one of those people from my youth who couldn’t tell ABBA from ZZ Top. But it’s true that recent music includes a lot of the cloyingly faux-homey (“Alabama Arkansas, I sure love my Ma and Pa,” to quote the bizarrely campy Edward Sharpe) or just creepy (“Russian roulette is not the same without a gun, when it comes to love if it’s not rough it isn’t fun”).
I’d be happy to hear suggestions of good recent love-song lyrics, but for now here are some old faves of mine:
“Walk me to the corner, our steps will always rhyme” is pretty awesome IMHO, and I also love the fey background “bummm-pa-da-da-da-da” and the bouncy twangy piano-like thing that comes in toward the end. “I’m Your Man” is also a great love song, though quite a bit kinkier.
Somehow the sentiment of “I’ll Be Your Mirror” is enhanced by the rather clunky singing and the German accent.
“She reminds me of a chess game with someone I admire, or a picnic in the rain after a prairie fire.” Not sure what that means, but she sounds pretty interesting.
I know that one is kind of obvious, but in my defense I was a fan before the movie “Juno” made it a hit. Actually, my favorite Moldy Peaches lyric is “Steak for Chicken,” but it isn’t exactly a love song (“Who mistook this steak for chicken, who’m I gonna stick my dick in?”).
I asked Shelster if she could think of any recent candidates and she suggested “Tonight (I’m Fucking You)” by Enrique Iglesias. Her Taio Crux Pandora station is evidently rotting her mind.
Here’s a little commentary on the issue…though there’s always the risk that I like it because the French is mostly so easy to understand.