Idol Chatter

defleppic.jpgThere are a lot of love songs out there. Some of them I love, no matter what my romantic status. And others make you want to re-enact all those scenes you see in movies, when the protagonist looks at himself in the mirror and is filled with such self-loathing that he punches the mirror and it shatters. (I’m just saying.)
But there are some songs that may not be traditional love songs that you’d hear at weddings, but still evoke the power of love and the helplessness you feel at its loss. And even though many people are at their most annoying when they’re in couples, sometimes musical pairs are just what the love doctor ordered. So here are my top five pairs of songs–call them “couples” if you must–about the highs and lows of love.
5. “Miss You In a Heartbeat” and “Two Steps Behind,” by Def Leppard. That’s right, I said “Def Leppard.” What, just because a band doesn’t need your photograph, or wants you to pour some sugar on it, doesn’t mean that they don’t have a soul that’s made of heartache and heartbreak, just like everyone else’s. Listen to either of these after a breakup or a love-based disappointment, and you’ll feel it become part of you on a cellular level. You’ll know you’ve recovered from said disappointment when you listen to “Miss You…” and call it cheesy, and when you hear “Two Steps Behind” and pronounce it “stalkerish.”

4. “Alone” and “These Dreams,” by Heart. “Alone” starts innocently enough, with a looping intro that recalls the love-induced insomnia it describes. And then the band’s hard rock edge comes through as the music crescendos to a banshee-like scream of a soul being torn in two. Who hasn’t been there? And as for “These Dreams,” the gothic picture painted is one that is familiar to anyone haunted by a lover they can’t quite catch or hold on to. The sweet melody never develops the fierce attitude of “Alone,” but serves as a complement.
3. “I Just Don’t Think I’ll Ever Get Over You,” by Colin Hay, and “Let Go” by Frou Frou. Thanks to Zach Braff for resurrecting the career of the Men at Work singer from a land Down Under, whose voice is inimitable, and who gave the world this song of heartache and longing. Frou Frou’s song pulses as it urges surrender, “Let go…there is beauty in the breakdown.” Plus, the association with Braff makes the heart beat a bit faster, even before our musical subconscious associates it with a similarity to the “Grey’s Anatomy” soundtrack, and before we know it, we’ve moved from “Garden State” to Sacred Heart to Seattle Grace. All in the span of these songs.
2. “Romeo and Juliet”, by Dire Straits/Indigo Girls. “A lovestruck Romeo sings the streets a serenade, and we’re captivated. From lyrics to music, this song is either a sweet, modernized take on the Shakespearean intention, or can just rip out your heart, depending on which version you indulge in. I heard the Indigo Girls one first, but fell in love with the Dire Straits one too. It’s good to have a classic love song that, in its two iterations, fits any mood you’re likely to be in. It’s clever, poetic, snarky and post-modern, speaking in modern cadences and referencing everything from the bard and 60s pop, as well as calling an unfaithful lover out on behavior that was other than what they promised.
1. “In Your Eyes,” by Peter Gabriel and the cover by Jeffrey Gaines. People loved this song even before John Cusack held that boombox aloft in the rain, but nowadays, all anyone has to hear is the opening notes, and they’ll clutch their hands to their chest and say, “Ohmygod, I LOVE this song!” Many of them are likely thinking of the dreaminess of John Cusack, rather than the talent of Peter Gabriel, but it’s inventive, romantic, and has a sweepingly eclectic sound that shows you PG is about more than “Big Time” and “Sledgehammer.” (Spirituality note: Gabriel is responsible for the evocative, haunting score for the controversial “Last Temptation of Christ.” The music is simply amazing, as is Gabriel’s talent.)
Check them out, and share your favorite musical “duos” here!

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