Collaboration: Favourite Love Songs

Musical MarchAfter having such a great time collaborating with my friends at the end of last year, I thought I’d bring them back for a couple more new posts this month all in the name of music. For the next few weeks, we’ll be talking about some of our favourite songs, from film tracks to guilty pleasures. This week, it’s all about love.

We all enjoy a good love song every now and again, whether or not we’re in a relationship. They can give us hope, help our hearts, and remind us of how lucky we are to have someone that means the world to us. Love makes the world go around after all, or it should do at least.

Even though Valentine’s Day is over for another year, the three of us are still very much in a loving mood. We’ve all sat down and had a think about what tracks we enjoy listening to when we’re feeling the love, and we’ve come up with our individual top three that we wanted to share with you guys.

A Writer in Sight

IMG_7306Being an avid listener of mainstream pop music, it should come as no surprise that I’m partial to a love song or fifty. The only problem with that is that they can often all blend into one, because so many songs lack originality when it comes to being in love. It’s often all about ‘they’re my one true love and everything’s perfect’ or ‘I was a fool and it’s not too late for us’. While these tracks are still enjoyable and music is about more than just lyrics, it’s nice when you find something that stands out from the norm.

Arms (Christina Perri)

A Writer In Sight (3)Sandwiched between Christina Perri’s two biggest singles to date – Twilight’s ‘A Thousand Years and the monumental ‘Jar of Hearts’ – ‘Arms’ is a somewhat forgotten song from her debut album, Lovestrong. What it lacked in commercial success, however, it made up for in lyrical artistry and masterful production that ultimately produced one heck of a love song.

In the track, Perri sings of a struggle between following her head or her heart, and how it’s always so easy to overthink and complicate things in a relationship for one reason or another. As the song slowly picks up pace and delivers a sensational instrumental break that propels into the climax, she realises that love is the way forward, no matter the hardships that may come. It concludes on a simple but heartwarming line: ‘you put your arms around me and I’m home’

Although the message of this single may not be anything new, the grandiose scale of the music combined with Perri’s beautifully unique voice adds a monumental quality to the song. Their power represents the epic capacity of love, and that isn’t always easy to put across in music – not genuinely.

Just Be (Paloma Faith)

A Writer In Sight (2)Backed only by one of the best piano arrangements ever produced for a ballad, the fourth single from Paloma Faith’s sophomore album ranks highly as one of my favourite love songs for its honest portrayal of love. In a similar vein to ‘Arms’, ‘Just Be’ avoids the cliché of love being about blissful happiness by pointing out her partner’s flaws and emphasising how negative their relationship can be at times. It’s not often that a love ballad boasts the line, “let’s be unhappy together”.

I was obsessed with this song when I first listened to Fall To Grace, to the point that I would listen to it on repeat for days on end. As well as being more original with it’s lyrics, the music is hauntingly endearing and really pulls at the heart strings. I’ve always believed that it’s on ballads that Faith’s voice really shines through because she’s so adept at emphasising her emotion, even when she takes on a breathy tone. The slower moments just make the bigger ones that much more powerful.

Young Blood (Sophie Ellis-Bextor)

A Writer In Sight (1)Sophie Ellis-Bextor’s ode to her mother and stepfather’s lasting love is, without a doubt, my favourite love song ever recorded. She explained during a live performance of the song that it represents how, no matter how many years into a relationship you are, a part of you will always see your partner the way you did when you first met. Even when you’re in your 80’s and celebrating sixty years of being together, there will always be a youthfulness to your love that can never be taken away. I’d like to believe that I can find something like this one day.

What truly makes this song outstanding is the music that accompanies it. I’m always a sucker for a track with violins and ‘Young Blood’ uses them beautifully, helping the song to rise and fall with beautiful precision. When the final chorus bursts out of the instrumental with a fiery passion, I find myself completely captivated by the music. Even as it slowly dies away and the piano is all that remains after her voice has broken off, it’s still so wonderfully atmospheric right to the last note.

Give It Some Geek

SarahI love love songs. I find all the mushy, cutesy stuff appealing because I’m such a big romantic. So much so that I would happily belt out Whitney Houston’s I Will Always Love You at any given moment. The cheesy, infectious pop tracks are a particular favourite, although my top love songs will always be the ones with the best writing. Catchy tunes are great, and on-the-surface boy-meets-girl songs are fantastic, but if I’m really going to love it, it’ll be down to those deeply meaningful lyrics.

Yuki no Hana (Mika Nikashima)

Give It Some Geek (3)When I talk about this song, I have to talk about both the English translation “Snowflower” and the original Japanese. Both are great, but for different reasons. I enjoy the English version, obviously, because I understand the lyrics entirely. But Mika Nikashima has the most astounding vocals and should never be discredited. If we’re talking about love songs though, I’ll refer to the English translation. Gorgeous lyrics talk about wanting to see a future with the one you love – “we could share the very first snowflowers of the year in your arms where I belong”. This is accompanied by a music-box and piano style backing track that gives off a delicate and smooth flowing vibe. I’d note that the original version has far smoother flowing lyrics and is loads of fun to sing (and if I’m being honest, the Japanese version trumps the English version any day). It’s the first foreign song I ever truly listened to and enjoyed, so it has a really big soft spot in my heart.

New World (Charice)

Give It Some Geek (2)Not exactly your typical love song, New World is a six minute wonder that talks of a loved one dying but finding the strength to carry on with life because of the love they gave. I love New World on so many levels. The accompaniment is gorgeous, and Charice (who plays Sunshine Corazon in season 2 of Glee) has superb, powerful vocals that show both desperation for what’s lost as well as hope for the future. It’s an emotional song and she steps up to the plate. Not only that, and once again this is my little nerdy input, New World was used as the promotional song in Square Enix’s Final Fantasy XIII-2 and it brought me to tears on the first listen. Losing a loved one is heart-breaking, but the lyrics of New World really do bring some peace.

Baby, I’m gonna go to the new world with nothing but the strength you gave me. There’s nothing to be afraid of, I know your love will lead me where I should be.

The Last Night (Skillet)

Give It Some Geek (1)My favourite songs are always that ones that create a great narrative in my head. The Last Night may not come across as the most romantic, mushy love song and it probably seems totally out of place in the number one spot because it’s a rock song, but the lyrics speak volumes. The accompanying music is nothing to turn your nose up at either.

The lyrics follow a man watching a friend – the girl he loves – go through mental illnesses, desperate to help her and protect her from what she’s going through at home and elsewhere. “This is the last night you’ll spend alone, I’ll wrap you in my arms and I won’t let go”. It’s raw and powerful, and for anyone who cares for someone with a mental illness, it’s a truth. There is desperation in the song, but also a certainty that he will always be there for her. There are no ‘ifs’ about it – she will be okay and he will get her through it. I just love it. That, and I love a bit of rock, particularly when Skillet throws in a violin to boot. It’s an instrument that heightens the tension and brings in the drama which, if you ask me, is true of any real and fought-for relationship.

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Holly Quills and Ivy

HollyHi everyone! I’m back on James’ blog to bring you all things music for March, and this week we are talking about our top 3 love songs. Love songs are universal and can be appreciated by everyone whether you’re in love or not, they are just nice to listen to. They can be beautiful and heart-breaking and everything in-between but they make us feel something. Listening to them always gives me hope about finding that someone special one day. So, without further ado here are my Top 3 love songs.

Haven’t Met You Yet (Michael Bublé)

Holly Quills and Ivy (3)Ah Bublé, you velvet voiced Angel. He’s the man we mostly associate with Christmas thanks to his incredible album full of Xmas hits, but it’s one of his original songs that I want to talk about now. ‘Haven’t Met You Yet’ tells the story of a future romance and what it will be like, but there’s just one problem – “I just haven’t met you yet”. It’s such a cute and adorable song with a pop background tune so you can easily dance along to it, which is a contrast to my other choices. The lyrics are hopeful and cheerful as they narrate the future possibility of finding ‘the one’ and describe what it will be like when you do.

Absolutely Smitten (Dodie)

Holly Quills and Ivy (2)This must be one of the most adorable love songs I have ever heard. It’s written from a female perspective about the joys of liking someone and becoming “Absolutely Smitten.” I have loved this song for years and it has always been one of my favourites because it has remained relatable at any age, which is great. Throughout the song, it switches to the male’s perspective which is refreshing to see in a love song that’s not actually a duet. Unlike the other two songs, I doubt many people will have heard this one, but I highly recommend giving it a listen. It’s so cute and adorable, and  it perfectly captures how it feels when you start liking someone. I bet you will end up smiling by the end of the song.

Thinking Out Loud (Ed Sheeran)

Holly Quills and Ivy (1)This has got to be one of my favourite songs of all time, and it certainly helps that Ed Sheeran is my favourite singer. I highly doubt there is a person who hasn’t heard this song and wouldn’t say it’s beautiful. It’s such a simple, romantic song with a beautiful melody and heart-warming lyrics. Ed Sheeran is a genius when it comes to writing emotive songs; he takes raw, pure emotions, puts them on paper and creates gorgeous pieces of music from them. His slow and calm voice suits the genre so well that you know his songs are going to be perfect to listen to at any time. It is without a doubt my favourite love song ever, and I will happily listen to it on repeat 24/7. Gotta love some Ed Sheeran.

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