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More unrequited love songs

Unrequited love provides us with a rich mine of heartbreaking songs. So following from the first part on love that is unreciprocated, here are eight more takes of chances missed, emotions deferred, affections unexpressed and love rejected. And, fans of nagging pains in the guts rejoice, there”ll be a third instalment soon.

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Scott Walker – Joanna.mp3
joannaScott had summer romance, and now the eponymous girl is gone and he is pining, living on memories “” “You made the man a child again, so sweetly. He breathed your smile, lived in your eyes completely. And on his heart there”s still a trace of you” “” and vain hope that they will be together again. She clearly has forgotten him, or wants to forget him. She might even have told him so (perhaps by the passive-aggressive method of ignoring his communications). Yet our lovelorn crooner is not ready to give up: “I love you, but nothing in this world could make you mine. Yet still in time”¦you may remember me and change your mind.”


The Cardigans – For What It”s Worth (acoustic version).mp3
Oh shit, she had a casual fling (the so-called “fuck buddy” or “friends with privileges” phenomenon) and fell in unreciprocated love. And then she let it slip: “A four-letter word got stuck in my head; the dirtiest word that I”ve ever said”. And it doesn”t start with F. More than that, “it”s making me feel alright.” Well, transiently perhaps, as she acknowledges in the qualifier to her confession of love: “For what it”s worth, I love you. And what is worse, I really do.” Evidently, the guy freaks out. So, having pledged (to herself) patience that he”ll come around, she later tries to entice him back into bed (“The four-letter word is out of my head”). And here”s where her confusion really sets in. Follow it: “For what it”s worth, I like you. And what is worse, I really do. Things have been worse, and we had fun, fun, fun till I said I love you. And what is worse, I really do.” No point resisting it; from here on in she repeats that great line: “For what it”s worth, I love you. And what is worse, I really do.”


Frank Sinatra – I Get A Kick Out Of You.mp3
sinatra_kickRarely has unrequited love been as jaunty as in Cole Porter”s I Get A Kick Out Of You. Frank “” and let”s not call him by the affectation “Francis”; our man was baptised Frank “” goes to great lengths to tell us about the things that mean nothing to him. Champagne? Pah! Airborne sex? His idea of nothing to do. Cocaine? “I”m sure that if I took even one sniff it would bore me terrifically too” (as do Be Bop and, oddly, Spanish perfume). The only thing that gives him a kick is, to use Sinatra lingo, a “broad” who ob-vious-ly does not adore him. This is the swinging 1962 version; his 1953 take will run next Friday.


Matthew Sweet – Farther Down.mp3
“Into you so far the words go, so much clearer than you hear. Into you goes everything I know, no one else knows how I feel.” Without her, our man is in pain (happily, then, the sound is not of the emo variety). “Farther down, I”m desperate for you, where you never have to know. Farther down, I”m still without a clue; till something”¦takes my pain away.” Matthew doesn”t let us in on his pain-relief programme, but we can presume that it involves either alcohol and drugs. The trouble is, does she really want to hook up with a pissed junkie?


Vertical Horizon – Everything That You Want.mp3
Frienditis is the psoriasis of unrequited love. Here we have a guy who is in love with a girl who won”t stop blabbering on about the guy she is unrequited love with and how that dude is everything she wants and needs. Well, our man here (who in the movie version of the song would be played by Michael Cera) knows what she needs and should want. With a self-pitying flourish at the end, he echoes her prattle as he observes: “I am everything you want. I am everything you need. I am everything inside of you that you wish you could be [whatever that means]. I say all the right things at exactly the right time. But I mean nothing to you, and I don”t know why.” Hmmm, lack of self-confidence, perhaps?

Linda Ronstadt – Long, Long Time.mp3
ronstadtAnd frienditis from the female perspective. It seems that the guy is going away (relocating, or perhaps getting married), and Linda, on this song from 1970, is trying to get to grips with the door slamming shut on perennial hope. “I”ve done everything I know to try and make you mine, and I think I”m gonna love you for a long, long time.” Oh, she tried to show him how she felt as he was whoring around “” making Linda blink back the tears “” and he never noticed. So now she”ll be “living in the memory of a love that never was”.


Bright Eyes – Make A Plan To Love Me.mp3
Being in love is rubbish when the recipient of your affection is in love with the career. “You said you had your foot in the door; you buy and then you sell, you buy some more,” Oberst observes before bluntly requesting: “Make a plan to love me sometime soon”. He points out, quite reasonably, that life is shirt and success and money don”˜t compensate for love. “Some things you lose you don”t get back, so just know what you have.” Because the love deal is on the table only for a limited time. “Life is too short to be a fool; I don”t owe you that.” So she”ll have to close the love deal, or “” and he might be bluffing here “” he”ll take his romantic trade elsewhere: “Do what you feel, whatever is cool. But I just have to ask [repeatedly!]: Will you make a plan to love me sometime soon?


Kenny Nolan – I Keep Dreamin’.mp3
kenny_nolanIn his 1976 hit, Kenny had the relationship all mapped out: barefoot walks on the beach, kids with “little smiles so warm and tender, looking up at us” et cetera. In absence of all that, he daydreams , presumably as one does in TV comedies where these fantasies are introduced by a harp riff (present here, of course) and soft edges. The kicker here is that Kenny is not in love with anybody other than the idea of romantic and domestic bliss. He is in unrequited love with love.


In this series so far:
Unrequited love
Love hurts

Being in love
Longing for love
Impossible Love
Love Songs Mix
Somebody Done Somebody Wrong
Dumped & defiant

  1. July 6th, 2009 at 05:06 | #1

    Ooh, that Linda Ronstadt song. I lived that one for a few years, and that was my theme song. I knew it had to show up in this series sooner or later.

    Why don’t record covers look like that Sinatra cover anymore?

  2. July 6th, 2009 at 05:16 | #2

    May I suggest an addition ? – Divine Comedy – Everybody know I that I love you.
    Or is that too obvious ?

  3. Nick
    July 6th, 2009 at 12:02 | #3

    Even more obvious is that beauty by the Temptations…… Just My Imagination.

  4. opus
    July 6th, 2009 at 22:59 | #4

    okay, potentially naive moment,

    i thought “everything you want” was supposed to be god singing of his unrequited love with human beings, keeping their god as far on the periphery of their consciousnesses as possible.

    somewhere there’s speaking…
    rising in the back of your mind…
    you’re waiting for someone…

    he even resolves it – i am everything you want yada yada.

    for that matter, i thought that ALL vertical horizon songs were about christian spirituality, and i don’t even like the genre (but i love that album!).

  5. July 7th, 2009 at 00:36 | #5

    Oh, damn! Just the thought of those first notes of “Long, Long Time” is enough to make me blink hard. Accompanied by some gorgeous stuff, too. Nice, if heartbreaking, post!

  6. July 7th, 2009 at 04:55 | #6

    Been a long, long time since I heard that Linda Ronstadt tune. A long time. Still great. Thanks, man!

  7. July 7th, 2009 at 10:00 | #7

    Not at all naive, opus. Good point, in fact. The song could be about God. If it is, than VH made it a point of not stating it explicitly, giving us the freedom to interpret lyrics in a way that makes sense to us. Which is a liberty I’m taking full advantage of in this series.

  8. opus
    July 7th, 2009 at 18:33 | #8

    keep it up

  9. July 8th, 2009 at 03:39 | #9

    I didn’t want to like the Vertical Horizon song, but it was an earworm.

  10. July 8th, 2009 at 04:28 | #10

    Ohh, this was one of those posts that I would swear you wrote specifically for me. Y’know, after reading my mind. Nicely timed, Dude. :) And, as always, I love your summaries and comments on the lyrics of songs. They’re so fun to read!

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