‘What’s love got to do with it?’ asked Tina Turner. It’s a bloody great question, and on our eternal, curious and apprehensive search for this thing called ‘love’, it’s worth bearing in mind what may fall delightfully into that category and make us feel all warm and expansive, excited, with our skin shining, a smile on our face, and our friends eager to know exactly who he or she is that is making us look and feel so damn delicious; and, what dismally and often painfully falls short, leaving us furrow-browed, consumed with this weird angsty feeling in our belly, and quite frankly, making us not very happy at all! Because, let’s face it, love is the whole point when we set sail on the sea of dating and the ship of relations. But what is love?
As a slightly tongue-in-cheek exploration, let’s answer Ms. Turner’s pondering via the medium of that old magic of music and song. Hell. Everyone loves a cupid’s arrow to the heart crooning! So here goes.
Nine love songs, nine variations on our questing for love. Some for when we find ourselves sitting in semi-darkness rocking slightly in the corner of our room (insert wine, chocolate, tissues etc.); and others for when life feels like someone has cleaned the viewing windows, you burst into musical moments unexpectantly, feeling mighty fine right down to your bones!!
9. ‘Love will tear us apart’, Joy Division
No. No no no. In my limited but varied explorations on this search for love, I can only affirm with great sage like wisdom unwarranted neither by theory nor research, that indeed love is not designed to rip us to so many shreds that we get mistaken for a snowflake storm whilst walking down the street! Quite frankly this sounds terrifying and though I do believe that love will test us and challenge us, encourage us to grow and risk, and stretch our hearts until they are fit to bursting, being torn apart is not what it’s about. You are not a zombie fodder. You are fabulous, move on.
8. ‘You drive me crazy’, Fine Young Cannibals
Ok. We all like a little excitement. In fact one of the thrills and spills of the first rush of dating is the cacophony of concocted chemicals our body produces when in the company of the other. It’s nature’s naughty way of seducing us down the love hole so to speak. Nice one mamma nature. This is great, wonderful. Enjoy darling! However, a continual cyclone of drama and craziness will most likely not lead to a life and partnership of sustainability and stability, but more than likely, one of exhaustion and burn-out. Mix it up. Go for ‘boring’, and make like the domicile domestic duo and have an easy night in. Movie and pizza? Ease and simplicity? Comfort and a pause on the rollercoaster ride? Let the intimacy flood in, because if we can’t simply ‘be’ with each other without the need for an action script, then something is missing sweetheart.
7. ‘Ne me quitte pas’, Nina Simone
Oh those blues musicians. Kudos to them for singing the wail of their hearts. Don’t leave me, begs this wonderful singer, and I have to shake my head. Don’t leave me? Hold on, is there not a slight shrill of co-dependency going on here? What happened to you hon? One moment you’re a shining example of a hip, got it going on, fully embodied and emotionally together human being, and then, wham, that part has melted into a huge pile of attachment, probably sourced from some part of our woven past, and with grasping gripping claws and a soupçon of simpering. Not cool. Pull yourself together, and remember that true love is not about possession or control, but allowing each other to be who we are and shine.
6. ‘Heartbreaker’, Dionne Warwick
Yep, I get it, I really do. They are the charmer, the smooth talker, the flirty, sexy, seducer that took your breath, and most likely your pant(ies) away! Ahem, I hold my hands up, been there too. It’s a flattering ride that’s for sure and they can probably do romance with their eyes shut, so to speak, and have an A* in making you feel like the one and only (thanks Chesney!). However, if your intuitive bones are bending towards suspicion, and you notice just way too much gloss, dazzling smiles, and dismissal whenever your conversation goes into the room marked, marriage, kids, co-habitation, future, and that scary c word (not the rude one dear!), commitment, then just take a step back for a moment and re-catch your breath. Now, if you too are not seeking said traditional, and some may say, old fashioned modes of relationship, and you are just about having a great time then go for it, dive in the water’s fine. But if there is in truth some part of you that longs for something more, then just be careful with your heart. It’s a precious thing that heart of yours, handle it with care.
5. ‘Heart of gold’, Neil Young
The only relationship advice my father ever gave me (and still does, bless him) is to find someone who is kind. Kindness. Such a beautiful word. Someone’s actions towards others is just as important and also incredibly informative, when considering who to give your heart to. If someone is a kind soul it shows in their eyes, in their words and in their actions. Kindness holds hands with love, they make a magical couple. If your other has this heart of gold you will notice it makes you shine too, as you are enveloped in their goodness glow. Makes you feel all warm just thinking about it. Bask in the golden sun baby, you are so deserving of it.
4. ‘(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman’, Aretha Franklin
No airs, no graces. No impossible standards of manufactured beauty via media’s illusory madness. No need to hide the scars, the wounds, the mis-spent youth nor the life you have lived etched so divinely in your beautiful flesh. Just to be seen as you, pure, naked and in your natural beauty. Hallelujah!
3. ‘You are so beautiful’, Joe Cocker
What a song, hey. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and in the seeing of the beholden. Maybe he or she doesn’t look like how you imagined, how you have vision-boarded them, or dreamed of. But when you are together all of that falls away, there’s a certain something, in the way they smile, take your hand, laugh, dance, that you just can’t explain. Sometimes it is our very quirks and foibles that make us beautiful. And to see these in another, and to have them seen in yourself, and all your mind and heart beats is to the pulse of each other’s beauty, then bingo baby, this is a very good sign indeed.
2. ‘Lovesong’, The Cure
Whenever I’m alone with you, you make me feel like I am home again. Says it all. Maybe love is home after all and we make our crazy journeys on the love train until we realise, just like Dorothy from the wizard of Oz, that there’s no place like home. In fact all the lyrics to ‘Lovesong’, possibly one of the most gorgeous love songs ever written, are pure poetry. Don’t give up, don’t settle, you are worth waiting for this kinda love.
1. ‘All you need is love’, The Beatles
Because, at the end of the day, love is a multi-faceted creature, complex and simple, paradoxical and yet making the most sense in the world. There are no rules for love, for dating, for knowing if this other human being is the one. But when we know, well, we know. And even if the road seems long, or we feel like giving up, just remember, love is everywhere, in everything, it is what we are made up of and what we have to give. Live from love.
And that my friends, is what love has to do with it.
Enjoy the ride, play the soundtrack loud, and whatever the mood of your song, sing it to the stars and back again.