There is no denying the power of music to bring out emotions, but how much should we really let these tunes take over?
By Pipo Gonzales
The evolution of love song semantics is quite interesting when you think about it. Growing up, the first set of songs I encountered often involved excessive acts of affection, which, strangely, often involved one dying for the other. By the time I was in my teens, it gradually changed to blow-by-blow descriptions of men making love to their partners. And upon college graduation, it became a competition of similes and other figures of speech, written in multiple layers. But regardless of the metamorphosis, without further vivisecting the intricate compositions of a ballad, a love song can be summarized, which is obviously, “I love you.”
Music, regardless of genre, possesses an indescribable power to capture a feeling or emotion. Whether from a well-composed string of words or an earworm-inducing melody, music hits a bullseye on our connection-obsessed cognition when our mood finds meaning with the song. The impact of such a connection then evolves to our mild delusions, reimagining ourselves in the narrative—never mind the outrageous scenarios or the make-believe complexities. When a song accurately hits the spot, we become the hero.
In our most vulnerable moments, a love song becomes our ally, enabling our delusions. We become the oppressed party—the martyr in a one-sided affair, the knight in shining armor, the obvious choice in a long list of candidates. You can even be the pretty girl who, for some reason, gets overlooked for some evil scheming witch. Whatever works for you. At this point, the song has now become a remedy for the forlorn, the soothing balm after a much-awaited yes, or the championship belt you brandish to gloat over the failed others. While enraptured in the dance of our delusions, we abuse the repeat button, force our friends to join us in the experience, and find similarly-meaning songs on our Spotify playlists. We feel glorious.
Of course, reality eventually kicks in after you’ve gone through the motions and your feelings have been validated. You realize the silliness of your thoughts and find hilarity in the experience. Or, in some cases, the song leaves an indelible mark in your existence, further defining your romantic decisions. What makes these love songs truly wonderful, regardless of the four-minute average, is how you can quickly jump back in with the press of a button. The fleeting moments of our emotional outbursts are granted an endless amount of playback for whatever purpose we need.
Even in our most mundane moments of listening, love songs remind us of our human experiences, whether you’re driving, running on the treadmill, or watching television. The music becomes a worthy excuse to be many things: unapologetically corny, uninhibitedly cheesy, and at times, overly affectionate. And thanks to capitalist-created celebrations like Valentine’s Day, our fears of judgment become more unfounded than ever. And in this sense, love songs have a captivating power, where we are further pulled in to our endless searches for meaning and connection, even for a brief moment. That, or we just really like the music.
Relax, it’s just a love song.