Playlist of the Month: The Paradox of Love

by Pilar Serrano, with art by Cveta Gotovats

This is a highly personal anthology, far from clichés and the appeal of the very successfully executed branding behind February the 14th.  Musicians, some of whom have been in love, others who haven’t have composed astronomical amounts of tunes about romantic ties. A quick search on the world wide web will reveal the oldest complete musical composition on record was written by a man named Seikilos who lived in Greece 200 BC. Seikilos had the melody and lyrics to a love song engraved on his wife’s tombstone, and reproductions of it can be streamed these days.

Romantic affection is an on-going theme of maturing life loudly interspersed throughout our 200,000-year-old existence. Nowhere are we expecting more fulfillment than in our personal relationships. It is difficult to define love precisely, and unlikely this definition will withstand the passage of time. This is why the elevations and depressions it provokes cannot be captured in descriptive language. They are captured as best as that is possible by music. This particular song compilation includes an eclectic mix of amorous anthems like Elvis’s “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” and Kanye West ’s stirring “Bound 2”. One of the most special tracks included is St. Vincent’s take on “These Days.” Originally written by Jackson Browne in the ’70s, the song makes allusion to the disheartening indifference towards life the loss of a lover can spring on one. Layering her words is a heavenly guitar-picking which is not to be missed. These tunes co-exist with essential old-school tracks like Paul Simon’s upbeat “50 Ways To Leave Your Lover”- an ode to the end of affairs – and Hendrix’s lustful “Little Wing” which leaves no one indifferent.

Some songs in this playlist deserve more than one go, while others are immediately pleasing, however, in any case, I would recommend attentive listening. They have been chosen for personal predilection, and with the courteous help of another pair of gentle hands. I hope you delight in them too.

Listen here: