Love, so its formidable PR machine goes, is all wonderful, all the time, right?
Well, no, not really; for all the people caught up in the rapture and ecstasy of the start of love’s sweet romantic journey, there are plenty of others sliding off the cliff of despair (not a The Princess Bride geographic location but it should be) into a place no one wants to go – the break-up.
The five artists featured in this post cover the full spectrum of love’s go-to-whoa move from happiness to loss with lyrical insight and sublimely good music that will have you nodding your head in recognition, no matter where you are.
Oh, and if you’re not so much in a romantically sad place and just a generally life sad one, then that’s covered too.
The great scope of human emotion isn’t always good but these songs are and might make going the very best and worst of times all the more sweeter or more comforting depending on what you need.
“Ripe” by FLAVIA
Falling in love is pretty damn wonderful isn’t it?
Or maybe also even “fun and freaky and playful and absurd”?
Don’t just take our word for it; here’s how L.A.-based artist FLAVIA describes her insanely catchy and oh-so-danceable new track:
“As I was driving down my little mountain, passing the sweet fruit trees that adorn the L.A. hillside I live on, I ferociously voice memo’d in 10 seconds what became the chorus of ‘Ripe’. ‘Ripe’ touches on that initial craving you get when you first start liking someone and get lost in their world, their taste, their smell. It’s a celebratory song about knowing your worth, aka ‘feelin’ yourself’ in all your glory. It’s fun and freaky and playful and absurd.” (Acid Stag)
It’s sexy, bouncy, exuberantly listenable song that is as much a love letter to being in the early stages of love and lust as any I’ve heard.
KRANE now takes us one step further in the falling love journey to the point where you are firmly and deliciously loved up buy your beloved is away and all you want is them close by you again … FAST.
“Baby it’s on nights like these
Nights like these
Nights like these
I’m missing your body heat
Set to a bright, light but emotionally resonant melody that fairly drips with longing, “Body Heat” by Californian producer KRANE is a collaboration with Nate Merchant (one half of Papa Ya) which takes the former artist in an altogether new direction musically.
“I’ve wanted to put something out like this before, but it wasn’t until I heard Nate’s writing and singing that I really felt inspired to actually do it. It’s different from what people expect me to sound like, but avoiding expectations is part of the point of this album.” (Acid Stag)
If ever there was a soundtrack song for all those people separated by the innumerable separations caused by the pandemic, this is it, and while what it describes isn’t a necessarily a good thing, the song itself is, very good in fact.
Hailing from the Netherlands, San Holo, known as Sander van Dijck to his country’s tax department, is a hugely talented Dutch DJ, musician, record producer and composer with a knack for picking some very cool collaborators.
This time around, he has connected with British singer-songwriter Bipolar Sunshine (aka Adio Marchant) for the sublimely lovely “find your way”, a lower caps fiesta of affectingly emotive music that deftly and beautifully captures what it’s like when all that love has run its much-lamented course.
“I tend to look at the music I put out as different chapters in my life. When I wrote my last album (album1) I was in love. You can hear it in the music. It’s uplifting. Hopeful. But love is such a complex emotion, it’s fluid, it’s fleeting, it comes and it goes. Sometimes love gets dark, but most importantly, sometimes it ends. For me, when the love has gone, a part will always remain. It’s about learning to move on – even if it hurts.” (Acid Stag)
Heartbreak may not be good for the soul but it is brilliant fodder to creativity, attested to by the fact that San Holo has a 20-track album coming our way in May called bb u ok?
“Look at the Sky” by Porter Robinson
Sporting one of the most incentive clips around at the moment, all white pianos and ghosts, “Look at the Sky” by Porter Robinson, a DJ, record producer, musician, and singer from North Carolina, is all upbeat brilliance and vivaciously alive emotion.
Which is all very fitting when you find out what this happily, giddily danceable track is all about, courtesy of the artist himself.
“‘Look At The Sky’ is fundamentally a song about hope. There’s no shortage of fuel for despair, but you can’t take meaningful action to improve things if you don’t have some belief that things might get better. That’s what hope is, and I think it’s an emotion worth nourishing. I wrote this song at my lowest point emotionally, when I thought I couldn’t make music anymore, and I wasn’t sure if my existence would have any meaning if I couldn’t make music. In the lyrics, I’m sort of imagining what life would be like once I was on the other side of all that fear and anxiety and sadness. I’m happy to report that it’s amazing on the other side of all this, and I’m so glad I had hope and persisted.” (Stereogum)
There is some significant big wattage power in this brilliant piece of pop.
It doesn’t pretend life is all sunshine and roses, and is honest about the fact that hanging on for dear life is sometimes the only way to deal with terrible times, but it does make a potent case for hope as a motivating, consoling agent and that is the best thing many of us can here in a time when hopelessness is making a strong case to be heeded.
Don’t listen to its despairing voice; instead, put “Look at the Sky” on repeat and take heart that things will get wonderfully, upliftingly, thrillingly better.
“Last Call” by Harry Nathan
Sydneysider Harry Nathan is sadly huddling at the dead and dying end of the love spectrum.
Well, likely not the artist himself of course but in the song, “Last Call”, all chilled, lo-fi ’80s-infused funk and melancholy, he’s full of a sense of foreboding that his great love affair may not be a much-regretted thing of the past.
His emotionally-rich voice conveys all the sense of impending loss and grief, all wrapped in music that feels wonderfully, gorgeously laid back, a melodic beat that belies the terrible place in which he finds himself.
Or rather in which someone he knows finds himself as he explains:
“I wrote this song from the perspective of one of my best friends, who was going through a tricky break up. Matters of the heart are never easy, we’ve all been in that situation where a once loving relationship nears its fatal end. We scramble for clarity in the abyss as our world shifts into the emotional unknown.” (edmsauce)
No one wants to be at the end of things but if you have to be, and here’s hoping that doesn’t happen, “Last Call” is the song you want to give voice to your fearful heart.