Home > Songs About Love > Longing for love

Longing for love

February 13th, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

Is it better to have love and lost than never to have loved? There aren”t many songs about yearning for love. So, as decided by a staw-poll on my Facebook page (become my friend here), for Valentine”s Day here is a collection of songs for those who have nobody to share the commercial feast with, or don”t have the bitterness of love lost, rejected or betrayed to commemorate on the day.

.

The Smiths – How Soon Is Now.mp3
how-soon-is-nowThe Smiths canon is brimming with songs about Morrissey”s unlovability. He doesn”t even get rejected; he just can”t find the right person to reject him (and when a girl comes on to him, as one does in Never Had No One Ever, he can”t even get “sorrow”s native son” to rise to the occasion). How Soon Is Now is the anthem of these songs. Every person afflicted with shyness will probably identify with Morrissey”s sad disco tales: “There”s a club, if you”d like to go. You could meet somebody who really loves you. So you go, and you stand on your own, and you leave on your own, and you go home and you cry and you want to die.” Which more or less mirrors my juvenile experience, minus the crying and suicidal tendencies.

One day, when I was 19, some friends took me to Heaven, the great gay club in London. It wasn”t long before a very nice man timidly offered to buy me drink. I was flattered to be considered attractive enough to be targetted for a pull (and here is a collorary to the shyness: a lack of self-esteem) but declined politely. I thought what a displeasure it was to be a straight man in a city where the women in the clubs I went to were so stuck up when I wouldn”t even have to try to get laid if I was gay. What did not seem to occur to me was that the girls were probably not so much stuck-up as I was a victim of a shyness that was criminally vulgar which prevented me from actually approaching them. No wonder I couldn”t get laid.

“”””””””””””””””””””

Richard Hawley – Coles Corner.mp3
coles-cornerLike Morrissey, Hawley is looking for company in bright, busy places, only to find nothing. “I”m going downtown where there”s music. I”m going where voices fill the air. Maybe there”s someone waitin” for me with a smile and a flower in her hair.” And with such hopes our hero puts on his best shoes and (as Kris Kristofferson would have it) his cleanest dirty shirt and heads to Coles Corner, apparently a popular hang-out in Sheffield. “I”m going downtown where there”s people. My loneliness hangs in the air, with no one there real waitin” for me, no smile, no flower, nowhere.” And so he”ll make his sad way home.

“”””””””””””””””””””

Kevin Devine – Probably.mp3
Set in a train carriage, Kevin is admiring a fellow passenger, imagining her life (covering all the bases of contradiction): “You probably don”t wear your glasses but you probably need them to read, and you probably value your downtime and you probably don”t get much sleep, and you probably don”t like the movies but you probably go anyway, and you probably fight with your parents a lot when you feel like there”s nothing to say, and you probably don”t care for punk rock but you probably own Nevermind.” He thinks of chatting her up ““ “you probably don”t talk to strangers but you wish they”d talk to you all the time” ““ but either shyness or self-loathing preclude him from approaching her: “So I should probably say something to you, but I”d probably ruin it then. It”s best for us both if I keep my mouth shut and just stay on my side of the train.” It may well be his loss and hers. This is the far superior version from 2003″s “¦Travelling The EU EP.

“”””””””””””””””””””

Hello Saferide – Loneliness Is Better When You”re Not Alone.mp3
hello-saferide_2Annika Norlin (for she is Hello Saferide) has nobody in her life, so she is looking to compensate for that with meaningless one-night stands, rationalising it with the statement of the song”s title. No strings attached. “I will be gone when you wake up. No awkward breakfasts, I swear. And don”t you look for me, because I could be anywhere ““ in someone else”s house, in someone else”s arms, with someone else to warm the pain away.” Her promiscuity is a band-aid for the sores of loneliness. She really would like closeness, to open up herself, not just her legs. “If I told you my stories and sang you my songs, would you laugh at me? Would you pity me? What would you say if I asked of you not out of accident, out of loneliness: would you shelter me? Will you shelter me?” And why does she not ask? Low self-esteem seems to be at play: “What can I ask of you? What would you want from me? What would you say if I just fell asleep?” Annika, there”s a club, if you”d like to go”¦

“”””””””””””””””””””

Liz Phair – Fuck And Run.mp3
phairAnother song about promiscuity compensating for loneliness. She wakes up with a one-night stand guy and instantly has regrets, thinking: “Whatever happened to a boyfriend, the kind of guy who makes love cause he”s in it”¦ I want a boyfriend. I want all that stupid old shit like letters and sodas.” But it doesn”t seem that a boyfriend is on the cards (maybe Liz should look in the unrequited love section; loads of nice guys there), even when a one-night lover reaches out to her. She doesn”t want his pity. So, she concludes, “I”m gonna spend another year alone. It”s fuck and run, fuck and run.” But there is an alarming clue in the lyrics which might explain her disposition. “It’s fuck and run, fuck and run, even when I was 17. Fuck and run, fuck and run even when I was 12.” Does that suggest that she was abused, leading to these trust issues?

“”””””””””””””””””””

John Prine – Aimless Love.mp3
in this 1984 song, Prine is singing about a sensitive soul, a guy who is suspicious of strangers and “a bit too gun shy to have his heart touched without a glove”. He really wants love to find him. Prine reminds him, and us: “Love has no mind. It can”t spell unkind. It”s never seen a heart shaped like a Valentine. For if love knew him. It”d walk up to him and introduce him to an aimless love.” In other words, open yourself up to let love in when you find it.

“”””””””””””””””””””

Jay Brannan – Housewife.mp3
brannanIn an alternative riff on Audrey”s Somewhere That”s Green in Little Shop Of Horrors, Jay is describing a scene of domestic bliss (and great sex): “I”m making guacamole, he”s working on the car. When he grills turkey burgers he knows I like them charred. I like to wash the dishes, I like to scrub the floors, don”t mind doing his laundry, what are boyfriends for?” Yes, he wants to be a housewife. “What”s so wrong with that?” But, as it turns out, he”s not one yet. “Can”t wait to till he”s in my life, “cause we haven”t met.” (Read my interview with Jay)

“”””””””””””””””””””

Colin Hay – Waiting For My Real Life To Begin.mp3
colin-hayAt first glance, this song (from Hay”s 2001 album Going Somewhere; one of three versions) might not belong in this series, but I think it has a place, and right here. The singer has a girl, but she”s obviously not what he really wants. He”s holding out for a better life which does not seem to include her. Indeed, even now, she is peripheral. “And you say: “˜Be still my love, open up your heart, let the light shine in.” Don”t you understand I already have a plan, I”m waiting for my real life to begin.” It seems to me that our friend could be in depression, vainly holding out for a better future “” “Let me throw one more dice, I know that I can win” “” and in the process is unable to return the love offered by his current partner. Which is really just as tragic as Morrissey”s shyness, Annika”s and Liz”s promiscuity, and Kevin”s lack of self-confidence.

Previously in this series:
Love Hurts
Unrequited Love
Being in love (Any Major Love Mix)

More songs about love

Be Sociable, Share!
  1. February 14th, 2009 at 16:01 | #1

    Some really nice songs there, Dude, including some I haven’t heard before. Particularly liked Hello Saferide & Jay Brennan – I shall investigate them further. (Couldn’t get Colin Hay to play though.)

    Regarding your How Soon… comments: I was single for most of my 20’s, and gay friends would often tell me that I’d have had much more success if I’d changed sides and played for the other team. Pity I just wasn’t made that way.

  2. February 14th, 2009 at 20:55 | #2

    It plays fine on my PC, Rol. I wonder if anyone else had the same problem.

  3. February 15th, 2009 at 08:00 | #3

    Kudos on another great post. :) And as I’m typing, Colin Hay is playing fine, no problems. . . except, maybe, that he’s depressing me a little bit. Hmf.

  4. February 16th, 2009 at 07:48 | #4

    Seconding the Hello Saferide. I hadn’t heard that before…

  5. April 23rd, 2009 at 12:25 | #5

    You’ve got pretty good taste.

    I download lots of new, not so new and old and obscure tracks. A good half dozen of the ones I got here and there off this site are really great! Thanks.

    “Does he love you”, The Weepies, “Pachalbel”, “They don’t know about love” (what a great song to cover), “Now touch the air softly”…

    I think they all came from here. Some other great tracks too.

    N.B. As I understand it, the Colin Hay track is about when his band Men At Work folded, and he had trouble adjusting. He was waiting for record company guys to call up and offer his big record deals and they never did.

    Much better track than anything he did for Men At Work, though. (didn’t download that track, I already bought it.)

  1. No trackbacks yet.