It is common knowledge that roughly 99% of all the songs ever written are inherently love songs. From The Beatles’ “Love Me Do” to Joy Division’s “Love Will Tear Us Apart” to Akon’s “I Wanna Fuck You,” the human desire for connection fuels the lyrics of just about every song you’ll hear.
And while many songs are explicitly about love, the way we listen to songs eventually starts to mirror the way we handle love. Below are the top ways that our connection to music mirrors our functional (and dysfunctional) relationships.
1: The Quick Fling
It’s the typical clichéd scene. At a crowded party, your eyes meet from across the room and there’s an instant connection. Cut to two weeks later, when suddenly calls are no longer being returned, awkward voice mail messages are being left, and the whole event is generally forgotten except for the occasional instance where your friends remind you about that time you hooked up with that steaming bag of crazy.
The scene doesn’t play out much differently with our music. These are the songs that are as catchy as they are disposable, you get sucked in on the first listen, and for the next week you’re just listening to the song on repeat, sending it to all of your friends obnoxiously, telling them how badass it is. You put it on your latest playlist, and by the time you’re finalizing said playlist, you’re already bored, and it’s one of the first songs to get cut.
The Cloud Room‘s 2005 quasi-Indie-popular “Hey Now Now” serves as my most relevant personal example. For weeks, it was the only song I would listen to, the song itself being the reason why the band was rushed to release their debut album, hoping to play off the moderate popularity it was receiving on various blogs. The song was originally written when the band’s lead singer, J Stuart, recieved a positive HIV test, which was later proven to be a false positive. The song is catchy, and was even eventually featured in a Pepsi ad. But, there’s not a lot of substance to it, and once I got over the novelty of the melody, it became a song that I would listen to if it came up on shuffle, but otherwise it was largely forgotten.
And that’s why the musical flings are so similar to relationship flings. They’re not necessarily bad, and you enjoy them for a time, but at the end day, it just becomes shallow.
2: The Regrettable Hook-Up
We’ve all had it happen. You’re feeling vulnerable, or drunk, or just want to blow off some steam, you go out to the bar, and some non-gender-specific freight train of aggressive insanity steamrolls towards you. And a few jack and diets later (or vodka cranberry for you ladies out there), you’re sucking face with some sketchy guy or gal in the alleyway before you wake up with a pounding headache and the sudden urge to start showering and never stop.
You are now the not-so-proud participator of a regrettable hookup, the kind that your friends all saw go down, and will give you endless amounts of shit for. Seriously, that stuff has no statute of limitations, you will never live it down.
Sort of like the songs you loved in middle school.
Fuckin’ Lou Bega baby!
It’s understandable. You were young, you maybe were just starting to listen to newer music, and all the kids thought that “All Star” was the best song ever fucking written. Or maybe your parents bought you Savage Garden, and at first you thought it was totally awesome until everyone told you that only girls were supposed to like Savage Garden or douchebags trying to play acoustic guitar to score with chicks. Or maybe fuck you, Vitamin C’s Graduation (Friends Forever) was your JAM.
You bought it at Borders and have no regrets. NONE!
Well, you’ve grown now, and your tastes are maybe more refined. But your friends will never let you forget that these were the bands that you once geeked out over. They will never forget your regrettable musical hook ups, and you will never hear the end of it.
But seriously, Lindsay, stop calling me.
3. The Crazy Guy/Girl You Know You Shouldn’t Be Into
Your friends think you’re crazy. She threw a rock through your windshield. He tried to beat up your brother because “he was looking at you funny”. She turned your pet rabbit into a stew. He jealously stalks you while you’re at work. You’re involved with a crazy, and no matter how bad you know it is for you, you can’t quite get yourself to pull the plug on the whole thing.
“WHO IS THIS ‘MOM’ AND WHY DOES SHE KEEP CALLING YOU!?”
Well, everyone has a song that they are ashamed to like, and when they hesitantly admit to their friends that, “Hey, I kind of like that song ‘See You Again,’” your friends roll their eyes, knowing they can’t talk you out of it no matter how hard they try. Some mistakes you have to make for yourself.
These songs often end up like the first category, just a fling. But unlike the fling, these songs are so out of character for you there’s no logical explanation for why you like it. Everyone asks themselves, “Why is this Australian teenage pop song on his Indie Mix?” or “Why did he post a video of Lil Wayne’s horribly misguided attempt to do Emo-Vocodor-Rock on his blog?”
And there’s never a good answer, you can’t explain your actions, you just wait for the novelty to wear off and hopefully come to your senses.
4. The Long-Term Relationship That Ended on Good Terms
You two had a long, happy relationship, but eventually, you sort of drifted apart. You’re different people now, and though no one is to blame, you no longer belong together. And you both accept that. It’s bittersweet, but there are no hard feelings. Hopefully you guys still can be friends. Sometimes you’ll look back at the good times and smile.
Hmm…that last paragraph was a little too serious. Let’s put a joke picture in here to make up for it.
Well, as our tastes change, sometimes our favorite artists move in different directions. When your music tastes blossomed, and you began listening to Yankee Hotel Foxtrot incessantly, you never imagined there’d be a day where you’d respond to an album release by calling them “plain yogurt” because it’s “safe, unassuming, and old people love it“. But sometimes life works like that. Your favorite songs sometimes will not age with you, and though you keep them on your itunes for old time’s sake, you’re not gonna be making any of your friends listen to it. And that’s fine, the song has plenty of other people who still like, a whole new audience. But, secretly, you’ll tell yourself…the song was kind of boring in the first place.
1. The True Love (D’awww)
It’s the easiest type of song to figure out on the list, and also the most mushy-gushy. And we at Elitish are against anything all lovey-dovey in our articles, which is why we like to make jokes about Phil Spector shooting people in the face (in the face, IN THE FAAACE). But, it is the final song type. Just like in a relationship, when it is a true-love, the American Dream with a white picket fence and two and a half kids (Why does the American Dream require every American to give birth to a torso? That’s terrible), you just know.
These are the songs that might not strike your fancy right away, but once you realize that it’s a song for you, it never leaves your playlists. Sure, there are times when you don’t pay the song the attention it once received, but at the end of the day, it never leaves your desert island mix. It could be any or all of a dozen Wrens songs (correction, it fucking should), or it could be a song that’s had a special place in your heart ever since your childhood.
In life, it’s generally only acceptable to have one “true love” (unless you’re a polygamist Mormon, but at that point you’re probably too busy being batshit crazy and stealing welfare checks from the government to put too much thought into it). But for music, it’s different. You can be a music prude (“I will ONLY listen to ‘Hey Jude’ by the Beatles, and no song comes even CLOSE!”) or you can be a music slut (“Plenty of song lovin’ to go around, singles”). And there’s really no judgment regarding how many songs fall into this category, because ultimately these are the songs that help define you.
And there you have it- five different types of songs lumped together in unwieldy categories in an article where I should have focused about 30% more effort into writing jokes. You’re welcome.