Monthly Archives: December 2010

What Are We Telling Ourselves Through Popular Love Songs?

My latest column for Industry Nov/Dec 2010

Tuning Out: Can love songs actually teach us something of value about that elusive state, or should we be making our own music?

When the relationship becomes a normal part of life, it becomes just another proof that outer circumstances do not really determine individual happiness. Most things disappear into the background, like a note I pin up to remind myself something, and which eventually fades into the wallpaper, beyond notice.

Life itself seems to teach that love is in so many ways more colorful and complex, but also harder and more scary, than most songs ever give testimony to. It takes guts to let down your guard and care for another, put yourself in the hands of another. There’s no guarantee you’ll be handled with care.

It takes a lot of days of negotiation, bad days as well as good, and of putting in the time to learn someone’s habits, of dealing with their ghosts, and not becoming haunted yourself,
to get to a few moments of Hollywood love. Transcendant, real, sometimes sad, heartbreaking moments of deep intimacy. But wait, am I just shoring up the mythology? It’s hard to talk about love without adding to the mystery.