When I was in middle school, I wrote a song worried about the fact that we are going to “run out of songs to sing” and that basically every topic has already been covered in music. The song ended with the hook “but we’ll never run out of love…” It wasn’t my catchiest song in the world. But, as it popped back into my brain recently, I realized that I was both right in some ways and in many ways, very wrong.
Obviously it’s true that the world has not run out of love. So, nailed that idea (haha!). But despite the fact that we have library upon library of music from way back when, artists and writers have kept on creating and we have more songs to sing than ever. Especially love songs. You would think that we have covered it all. And yet somehow, we find new things to say about these familiar topics. Or find a new way to say something that has been said over and over again throughout time (you know, like, “I love you”). Instead of putting a giant check mark next to the love song category, this topic persists as one of the biggest themes in music creation time and time again, as we add our own spin, our own perspective and our own experience to the concept. Whether it’s about longing for love, falling for someone, losing a great love…as you change stations on your car radio or let your Spotify play at random, there’s no denying that ideas of love are propelled in every genre of of music.
When I first heard “I love you like a love song” sung by Selena Gomez back in 2011, I thought it was kind of…lazy? I felt like they couldn’t think of an original way to say ‘I love you’ in a song of their own, so they just borrowed the idea that other songs say it better…so, I love you like a different song, that’s not this one, because I couldn’t think of how to say it. But having heard it again recently in line with these thoughts I have a whole new appreciation for it. It starts with this same idea (as stated earlier in this rant) saying that “every beautiful thought’s been already sung…” and yet “here’s another one.” Followed by the hook in the chorus “I love you like a love song baby.”
How beautiful is it that despite the fact that love has been covered over and over, we keep coming back to it? As if our nature calls us to explore this topic for ourselves. That even in our awareness of “this has been said before…” we say, well, “here’s another one” and try our hand at adding to the love song collective. Most of us understand that we cannot live through the love that others experience, and must experience love for ourselves to truly know it. And I think truly experiencing love, with the good, the bad and the rollercoaster that comes with it, it can’t help but bleed into the art, and especially the music that we create, as long as we are still creating. And if anything is going to inspire you to break out in song…it’s love.
I guess I’m writing this all to say—I LOVE that. You can call it cliche when you hear another love song on the radio and think “how unoriginal.” Or you can join me, and let it make you proud to be a person; proud to be connected to a humanity that never stops coming back to love, no matter how many times it’s been said and done before.