You want to tell her how you feel but there are just no words. Good thing there are songs that could somehow capture the emotions you’ve been awkwardly hiding for a long time. Here are at least seven that aren’t really the love songs you often hear on the radio but they say it best and true. So no more alibis. Hand her this love song mix CD and let music find the way to her heart.
“Sweet Disposition” by The Temper Trap
You have probably heard the song from the “(500) Days of Summer” soundtrack. The Temper Trap is an Australian indie rock band that has reached international success with “Sweet Disposition”, having held some pretty lofty spots on the UK Singles Chart for quite some time.
The song builds up as the background music for someone who is mustering the courage to ask someone out or to make that other person feel how you feel. After listening to this song, the girl of your dreams will find herself pondering on how love happens, and how when it does, all that matters are the little moments sang here in staccato—“a dream aloud, a kiss, a cry, our rights, our wrongs”. And as singer Dougy Mandagi belt out “we won’t stop to surrender”, she would just get it. This love song tells us that love is a struggle but that’s exactly what draws us into it.
“These Barren Years” by Admiral Fallow
Also hailing from the indie music circuit is Admiral Fallow, a Scottish folk pop group known for its singer/songwriter Louis Abott’s “slice of life” songwriting, very apt for their laidback sound.
The lyrics of the song talk about slices of high school life. The characters in the song are ordinary, faceless teenagers who always had it worst. The story is finding love amid such a “hopeless place”, as Rihanna likes to put it. You can’t help but share the restless longing in Louis’ voice as he sings, “how long will this last?” and in that moment have the courage to tell the girl how you are willing to hold her through those barren years. A great love song for young lovers out there.
“The Wagon” by Dinosaur Jr.
Quintessential 90s band Dinosaur Jr. released in 1990 a definitive anthem of the so-called Generation X and their struggle with love, life, youth, 21st century anxiety, and the in-betweens.
“The Wagon” sounds like the typical alternative song we all love. It derives its appeal from its reckless, no-holds-bar guitar playing that launches into a passionate solo in the middle. This contradicts singer/guitarist J Mascis’ deadpan singing. Combine them and you get a technique that seems to tell us, “hey, I sing what I can, but the real me plays from the heart.” Here is a boy offering a girl to come with him in his wagon and get away from whatever, together. “There you are and here I stand, tryin’ to make you feel my hand,” he says. “Why don’t we?” He asks. You would want to send your girl these pure, unadulterated emotions, and hope that she feels the same way. This is not your usual love song but it's just one of the most honest you can find.
“I’ll Make You Mine” by Rainer Maria
This list wouldn’t be complete without a contribution from the indie emo block. Here’s a song from the now defunct Rainer Maria, named after the poet Rainer Maria Rilke. Now if that doesn’t spell romantic and lyrical songwriting, then who knows what the heck love is.
But the love song “I’ll Make You Mine” is an exaggeration. It’s a romantic cliché. It sounds desperate, if only the words aren’t drowned in honest, bare-it-all melodies that turn the confessions into something sweet and sincere. At the height of your emotions, you try to reach for the right words but you would only end up with a whimper, “I promise that I will send my fears away.”
“The Perfect Girl” by The Cure
A The Cure runner up would be “Friday I’m in Love” but it seems too obvious. Here’s “The Perfect Girl” which is simply a song about a boy who professes his fascination with this strange, strange girl. Again, it’s a confession, and this time, there’s just no other way to let it out.
The words, “I think I’m falling, I think I’m falling in love with you” bleeds through a succession of playful notes, leaving us an image of a quivering, awkward young man, eyes shut, fingers crossed, waiting for an answer. This love song is prone to misinterpretation so add this if you think she is someone who would dig some The Cure humor and irony.
“Blue Jeans and White T-Shirts” by The Gaslight Anthem
The Gaslight Anthem of New Brunswick, New Jersey is an American rock band following the footsteps of fellow Jersey working class hero, Bruce Springsteen. The lyrics to “Blue Jeans and White T-Shirts” reveal their souls, “I’ll love you forever, if I ever love at all. With wild hearts,” Brian Fallow sings softly as he strums his acoustic.
You are not offering her the world but through a phone call from a payphone down the block, you will promise her that house on Cookman where you two could sleep on the beach all night. That’s what this love song is all about.
“Tonight, Tonight” by The Smashing Pumpkins
Another old-school in the list is “Tonight, Tonight” straight from The Smashing Pumpkins double-album magnum opus “Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness.”
Billy Corgan has managed to write the perfect first date soundtrack despite his often dark and sullen disposition. “Tonight, Tonight” is the music you want to hear as you find your girl lying on the ground, stargazing, and find yourself staring at her starry eyes from the peripheral.
You can try to sing this feel-good love song to her, but be warned, no one says “we’ll crucify the insincere tonight” as powerful and sincere as Billy does. Girls just can’t help but swoon over such tortured souls.