Put the word ‘love’ in a song and suddenly it seems irresistible to people, like musical clickbait. There are two reasons it is the most used word in pretty much every genre of music1 - listeners are bewitched by the promise it could describe something so indescribable, and also it tends to make songwriters rich so they keep coming back to it.2
On a completely unrelated note, I thought it was time I had a go at writing a love song. So here’s a live performance of a new song called Keep Me Around.
It’s part of a project to share a live performance of each song from my new album. Good idea? Bad idea? Doesn’t matter, it’s happening now. The full studio versions come out later this year.
Featuring my other wife John Parker on the extended cello. Recorded and mixed at Lovebird Studios by Thomas Dibb. Video production by Thomas Dibb and Lauren Housley of Northern Cowboy Films.
This time 7 years ago, my girlfriend bought me a Martin D35 acoustic guitar.
Obviously I married her. But the least she deserved in return was a love song.
Stephin Merritt of the Magnetic Fields once said of his group’s 69-song concept album:
“69 Love Songs is not remotely an album about love. It’s an album about love songs, which are very far away from anything to do with love.”
A bit dramatic Stephin. But often love songs are secretly about more than love - dependency, lust, insecurity and loss. I miss you, I want to own you, I’m on my way to your house in the dead of night to creep into your bed and have sex with you. Sorry I didn’t ask you first, I’m old fashioned. It’s romantic right?
I wanted to write a proper grown up love song about actual love. A post-honeymoon, bathroom-door-open, real-life I’ll-put-up-with-you-if-you-put-up-with-me love song. I absolutely love watching older couples when I play it live.
Longtime readers will not be surprised to learn it took an embarrassing number of re-writes to finish, many of which were better than the end result.
To be honest, I have a lingering sense this wonderful song deserved a better writer than me. Someone more perfect.
Instead it got me. I did an excellent job, the best I could do, but no more, because that’s all I have.
In other words, much like grown up love. In both songwriting and love I often get flashes of the transcendent, but both also have this habit of bringing me face to face with my true imperfect self. Well-intentioned but flawed in execution, hampered by mundane limitations, not quite as brilliant as I’d like to be (or somethings think I am), somehow loved for who I am regardless.
In that sense, maybe it’s exactly what I dreamed of?
Watch the video, take a listen. What do you think? Any other favourite love songs to share? Let us know in the comments.
Shout-out to Ewout from Belgium and his fiancée. They’ll be dancing to this song on their wedding day.
Last week’s open thread about physical music
is here. So many people contributed and I learned so much. A massive majority of you listen to music on CDs and vinyl, so I’m hoping to place my orders soon. I’m working on the artwork right now with Lynn Hatzius.
I asked the question because to be honest I don’t really know the right way to release music. I don’t have a team right now. No management, no publicist, no label. Even if I did they’d probably all disagree with each other.
What I love is writing these emails and singing songs, so how’s about we let that be the strategy? It can be the gig you come to before the album is out.
Any help you’d like to offer in spreading the word would be great, but to be honest just reading this is everything. I love you just the way you are.
I’m booking tour dates at the moment.
If you put on concerts and want me to play somewhere, hit reply and let me know.
Except the little words like you, me, I, the and and. https://codingintune.com/2018/04/09/statistics-most-used-words-in-lyrics-by-genre/
On rare occasions it’s been known to pay the rent, the gas bill and a Spotify subscription every month for up to three months.