Sunday, February 08, 2009

Love Lockdown: The WYDU Edition


The almighty love song. It can be the most loved or the most hated themes in music, depending on if your hitched or just getting over the big breakup. A good love song can make a special moment even more special. It can bring back the emotions of an event or a special moment in time. It's also those exact reasons why the wrong love song will make a person hit the "fast forward", dial changer, or "skip" faster than Carmen Electra's last marriage. It's those emotions, desire and hope of love and the creativity of music that combine to make love songs an important part of life. The well placed song during a romantic night might just get you laid. The wrong love song at the wrong time may make you toss a tape or CD out the window of a moving car. Music is a powerful voice and the love song is a powerful tool. Throughout the years, nothing says "I love you", like the well placed romantic ballad.

That leads us to me and my personal experiences with musical sonnets and love ballads. Music is a major part of my life and always has been. It's added to the events and memories that have went down in my life and the "love song" is a major contributor. For those of you that read my blog, Wake Your Daughter Up, you know that I play a hip hop blogger on the internet, but truth be told, I listen to anything from country, to heavy metal, to classic rock. My tastes sway just as much as my tastes in hip hop itself do. The bad thing about hip hop, it's not a genre known for it's powerful love songs. For some reason, hearing "I fuckin' love ya bitch, now get on yo knees", just kind of kills any chance for that soundtrack of life, theme song type of thing. Besides, as the proprietor of this blog and myself have discussed in the past, what's going to give you the best chance for some late night nookie? Eazy E or Isaac Hayes? Yeah, that's what I thought. For those reasons, most of my favorite and most moving romantically themed songs come from other genres.

For me, a powerful romantic themed song has to evoke some kind of emotion and/or relate to something particular in my life. It can remind me of a person, a relationship, or a place in time. For those reasons, sometimes my favorite choices come from many different genres. I tend to be a *gasp* helpless romantic in my relationships and have used countless numbers of songs to express that emotion to those women in my life. I tend to stay away from the over the top, super corny love songs. Nothing will make me reach for the barf bag quicker than a whiney ass Journey, Air Supply, Chicago or Foreigner song. That being said, I do tend to find some rather sappy songs from time to time that I probably won't admit to, I mean did y'all really think I would admit to liking Dave Matthews Band's "Crash" as much as I do? All that being said, these particular five songs might not be my all-time top five favorite love jawns, I'm not so sure I could really come up with a list, since each songs represents a moment more than anything. Instead, these particular five songs represent moments in time, particular women, and/or just tend to get those "juices" flowing.


"Love Song"---The Cure (LimeLinx)
"Love Song"---The Cure (YSI)

As a kid, I stayed away from the "waver/skater" crowd in junior high and high school. You know the kids with the Flock of Seagulls haircuts (I was an 80's kid) and the weird style of clothes. The Cure always seemed to be their favorites, which lead me to avoid the group at all costs. It wouldn't be until my later years that I was able to really sit down and listen to The Cure with a clean mind and any preconceived notions by the wayside. I now realize why the group is the soundtrack for so many 80's kids such as myself.

The track, "Lovesong", is for all purposes a fairly simple song as far as the lyrics go. It basically consists of two simple verses and a four bar chorus. Yet, for all it's simplicity, it's still a powerful and moving song. Without giving up too much of my own personal life, this decade of my life has been dominated by one particular woman, which has has been a wild ride to say the least. To me, the whole act of being in love has so much more to do with interaction between two people than any physical appearances. Yes, a nice presentation always helps getting to know someone, but looks only go so far. A female can be smoking hot, but if she doesn't add something to my life, I'm going to get bored rather quickly. For me, that's what the message in "Lovesong" is sending out there.

Whenever I'm alone with you
You make me feel like I am home again
Whenever I'm alone with you
You make me feel like I am whole again
Whenever I'm alone with you
You make me feel like I am young again
Whenever I'm alone with you
You make me feel like I am fun again

Simple, yes, but for myself, there is so much more underneath the surface. The Cure have a tendency to have their songs sound whiny at the first listen, but in some cases its more of the disenchantment of the topics they write about. "Lovesong" is not just a "love song", but it's a song conveying the emotions of loneliness, despair and the fact that this particular person makes you better, makes your situation better and makes your life better. The entire combination of their delivery, tone, and the music behind the lyrics just make for a powerful "love song" in an almost untraditional approach. It's still a song that I play quite often when I'm both away and with the particular person that this song is "dedicated" to. Because love is truly an emotion that has a powerful effect over it's "victims" and "Lovesong" captures that feeling quite well.


"Hey Love"---The Delfonics (LimeLinx)
"Hey Love"---The Delfonics (YSI)

Soul music has got to be the official music of Cupid himself. I imagine when he goes around with his little bow and arrow and is rocking his iPod, he has some Barry White coming out the headphones. Therefore, while I was only introduced to "Hey! Love" by The Delfonics only a year ago, it's since become one of my favorite songs ever. To me, it's what a Soul love song should sound like. You can feel the "lust" ooze out the speakers as the vocals pour out like maple syrup; slow, thick and sticky. It's this type of sultry music that is perfect for that late night excursion with your lady friend.

How does "Hey! Love", play into my life experiences? Well besides the fact that I think it's a classic romantic jam without the personal aspect to it, "Hey! Love" does hold a special place in my memories. Again, without getting too deep into my personal life, sometimes....nah, scratch that, a lot of the time in my own personal life, things don't always go down like they should or hoped they could. "Hey! Love" will always remind me of the "one" that made me say "what if?" I would listen to this song nightly, sometimes five or six times before heading to bed. For all the aforementioned reasons, "Hey! Love" would leave me somber, yet it would also find me getting my "Isaac Hayes" on, singing along with the drawn out lyrics and choruses. The song would have me thinking of the "mystery lady" attached to this particular track, wondering "what if", before I fell alseep in a deep slumber. Music that can inspire that kind of reaction in me will always be among my favorites. Music that serves as a soundtrack for a woman that for reasons left unmentioned, didn't work out the way you would want or hope or in this case, just plain bad timing, will always be special to me. "Hey! Love" will remind me of how that four letter word can drive you crazy, wondering why love can be so cruel and yet so grand all at the same time. No matter, I think the woman that inspired this song will always know that I "blank" her.


"Wonderful Tonight"---Eric Clapton (LimeLinx)
"Wonderful Tonight"---Eric Clapton (YSI)

Ah yes, my "true" true roots shine through. While some kids grew up on music such as Parliament, Barry White, or Miles Davis, my adolescent music was supplied by The Beatles, Chuck Manigone and this guy, Eric Clapton. Starting with Cream, one of Clapton's original groups, my mom would play a lot of Clapton's music when I was a young child. At an early age, I was introduced to "Wonderful Tonight", a song that even as a young child, I enjoyed very much. The song is slow and deliberate with a melody that is both catchy and appealing, with it's methodical guitar melody that gives me an almost sleepy feeling. Lyrically, it was something that was easy to sing along with, even as a youngster. Clapton writes great music and everything that I like about Clapton can be found in "Wonderful Tonight".

Personally, while I've always liked the song, it wasn't until a night out with the love of my life that the song would give me the meaning it needed to be called one of my favorite love songs. Much like Clapton's original inspiration, I was waiting for her to get ready for a night out in Vegas. This wasn't a club hopping night out, this was a night dining at a fine establishment, eloquent and sophisticated, two words that aren't usually in my vocabulary. Seeing this gorgeous woman walk out of the bathroom of our hotel room after waiting for over an hour made the wait seem insignificant and myself feel like the luckiest guy in the world. The whole night, "Wonderful Tonight" played through my head, as we headed out onto the town. Later that night, when we came back to the room, and curled up in sweats while falling asleep staring into each others eyes, the last thing I remember was "Wonderful Tonight" playing on my little stereo I had with me. All together now......."Awwwwwwwwwwww". It sounds corny, and I suppose it was, but like I said, deep at heart, I'm a hopless romantic, and "Wonderful Tonight" just aids me in my chase to put the cheese on the cracker so to say.


"When I'm Sixty-Four"---The Beatles (LimeLinx)
"When I'm Sixty-Four"---The Beatles (YSI)

For some reason, nothing gets to me more than seeing an elderly couple holding hands. Save the senior citizen porn jokes, it's nothing like that, I just admire what an elderly couple repersents. These couples that have been married for 50 plus years is mind boggling to me. You think of all the things that couple has had to endure to make it to this current place in their life. A couple that still can hold hands and show affection for each other some forty plus years later is just a remarkable thing to me. That is exactly why the Beatles' "When I'm Sixty-Four" always represents all that goes into a relationship that has lasted a half-decade or more.

While I'm not a diehard Beatles fan, I do appreciate their place in musical history and their creativity that they brought to the table. Some of my favorite hip hop music comes from sampled Beatles songs. John Lennon and Paul McCartney could easily be credited as some of the best songwriters in this era of rock music. "When I'm Sixty-Four" was written by McCartney, (with co-credit going to Lennon) and brings the issue of growing old with your loved one. Especially in this day and age of divorces, two year marriages and adultery, making a relationship last is particularly difficult, which brings out the importance of this song's subject even more to me. In what quite possibly is a main reason why I haven't settled down and committed to a long run with that special someone (you'd think nine years would be a good sign, but alas, it hasn't happened yet), songs such as "When I'm Sixty-Four" bleed that longing for the one shot and one shot only at marriage which I hold pretty near and dear. Musically, the songs clarinet backing is somewhat of a retro sound that I always find most interesting. It gives a feeling of the big band era, a feeling of oldness that one hopes to achieve. While not the most traditional of long songs (nothing I tend to like usually falls in the "traditional" category) the message it displays is one that I think is most important, longevity.


"Blowjob Betty"---Too Short (LimeLinx)
"Blowjob Betty"---Too Short (YSI)

I couldn't go without some kind of hip hop song being mentioned. While hip hop does contain some good love songs that I do tend to like, such as "The Light" by Pharoahe Monch, "Kiss You Back" by Digital Underground, and Quest's "Bonita Applebum" or "Electric Relaxation", hip hop's male macho undertones usually leave much to be desired in bringing the quiet storm. I've never been fan of the late 80's fad of hip hop love ballads by the likes of LL, Big Daddy Kane and just about any other MC to drop an album on a major label in those times. They mostly all outright sucked. So what's one to do when looking for that special hip hop tinged love ballad? Well, you suck it up and listen to those crappy love ballads, or you just come out and say it like it is and hope you have a woman that gets your perverted and twisted sense of humor. Luckily I do.

A week or two before Scholar sent out this little request, a co-worker of mine and I were talking about songs you dedicate to that "special someone". Myself, I listen to the radio every now and then with my CD player in my car being out of commission, so some of the latest top 40 hits can sneak into my favored songs concerning the finer aspects of that wonderful emotion called "love". At least that's how I explained it to him. He said that he would always play Too Short's "Blowjob Betty" to a chick to get her in the mood. While I have my crass and perverted moments, dedicating "Blowjob Betty" to a girl that you are trying to impress seems almost as idiotic as putting on "Me So Horny" to put her in the mood. He would go on to say that some women appreciate that type of thing, although maybe they won't come right out and say it. He told me that they'd be like, "That's so dirty", but secretly were turned on by the prospect. Again, I had a hard time believing this. To settle this debate, I thought what better way than get the opinion of a female. And not just any female, the female that I've been with off and on for the past nine years. We have a great relationship and not much I can say or do offends her anymore, so I had no problem texting her (I was at work) asking her take on it. She's not some slutty chick that dresses like a cheap hooker. She's refined, college educated, and comes from a fairly conservative background, so I figured I'd win this argument easily by asking her. I don't remember how I phrased the whole question, but it basically came down to which song would you rather have a guy dedicate to you, "Blowjob Betty", or something like latest Lifehouse song. Much to my surprise, she replied back "Blowjob Betty". Just when you think you know someone..... She explained it to me in sort of the same way. While it was degrading, it also had this "in the sheets" nastiness to it. For the same reasons that a reserved woman would get freaky inside the bedroom and strip for her man, she would also find it a turn on that "Blowjob Betty" was being played in her honor. Who said Too Short wasn't romantic?

Check for Travis @ Wake Your Daughter Up

Read Travis' interview with Scholar here

Word From Your Moms:

"See, the problem is that God gives men a brain and a penis, and only enough blood to run one at a time."---Robin Williams

20 comments:

Scholar said...

Travis,

You may be surprised about this, but 3 of these could have easily made my list. The Delfonics joint is a given (I mean...damn), but I have the same strange relationship with The Cure, and I still play "Love Song" from time to time.

Moms had the 45 for "Wonderful Tonight" and I was taken with that record for many years of my life. Every time I met someone or had a crush, this was one of the first things that would come out the box. The other was Chuck Berry's "My Ding-A-Ling", but I'll reserve that story for another day.

Thanks again for everything.

Darcy said...

Great post Travis. Hey we're all getting a Delfonics groove on! I could ditto everything you say about "Hey Love" - I could go so far as to say it has recently become on of my favourite songs ever AND I had exactly the same thing going on with the track last year... we all have our fantasies, and I must leave it at that (and I did).

Styler said...

Yeah The Cure! Robert Smith and the boys with all their funny hair and lipstick definately wrote some classic tracks, "Lullaby", "Close To Me" etc.
Good choice Travis and that Too Short fellow, boy what a charmer, with a lovely use of the Queen's English, although I doubt the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha would approve.

peace

Travis said...

Thank you one and all. Scholar, great minds think a like, what can I say? haha...and nice "Word From Your Moms"...I seem to have that problem more often than not, as do the majority of men in this world.

Darcy..."is it better to love, or not be loved at all?" Or was it "is better to be love than to not love at all?" Heck, I don't remember now. So much for trying to sound sophisticated. But yes, sometimes fantasies are better left as fantasies, but sometimes the "what if" gnaws at you. I'm a firm believer in "Curiosity Killed The Cat", yet, I still look in that dark closet. Alright, enough of the cliched sayings. Thanks for reading and comment.

Styler, I love The Cure these days, but I hated them back then. My family had this Brazilian foreign exchange student when I was in the 8th grade (which would have been 86 or so) and that kid would play The Cure day and night. I wanted to puke. But stuff that I hated back then, now it has a special place in my heart. Yaz is another one like that.

And Yeah, Too Short is an interesting character to say the least. But I couldn't drop the traditional hip hop love song, as much as I wanted to. I almost posted Kwame's "Onwnlee Eue", but switched at the last minute.

HeavySoulBrutha DaveB. said...

I do quite like most of McCartney's silly love songs.

Great post!!!

Peace and SOUL,
Dave...

demoe said...

what a post! i really enjoyed it.

"...and listen to The Cure with a clean mind and any preconceived notions by the wayside"

it would be so nice, if more people could do this! they are missing so much nice music, because they got a bad picture in there mind, which often even wasn't built by themselves. i had this problem with all kinds of electronic music for many years and today i find it so interesting. look at klaus schulze by the way, i don't think he looks like a "typical" raver (more like a hippy, I know, hehe). no easy listening, but very interesting. like many older music it doesn't fit in any of today's trends.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BUCYq2qLxJc

enough said...

peace, demoe

Commish CH said...

Trav we know you harbor a secret affection for Sid Bream.

nice work brah

Travis said...

@Dave - McCartney did make some great silly ass love songs. I guess that's why I like them so much, it's more my style. To my syrup with any affair is just way to much "sweetness".

@Demoe - Glad you enjoyed it. I spent a good portion of my younger years avoiding certain music for one reason or another and for a good time between '88 and '94, I listened to nothing but hip hop. I don't regret it, but I've spent the past ten years catching up on stuff. I hated the grunge element back then, but quite like it now.

Still haven't gotten into the electronic scene all that much, but I'm open to give it a listen. Thanks.

Commish - may Sid Bream rot in an eternal hell with Stan Belinda and Fransico Cabrera. (Inside joke y'all). Thanks for the props.

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