What’s Your Favourite-Ever Love Song?

Hey everyone, it’s been a while since I wrote a blog, partly due to me starting my second year of University, and the work coming thick and fast from the word go: I can’t complain however, as I truly love what I study and enjoy every minute of it. However, to break up the intensely literary train of things I’ve been posting about (poetry, prose, and all that jazz) I thought I’d do a post about love, and more importantly, invite you to send in your votes as to your favourite EVER love song – big thing to decide? Sure, but if you want you can just list the candidates!

As I’ve asked you to share, I’ll share something of my own. You might be surprised to find that my favourite love song is not by Muse, in fact, it’s by Dire Straits, and it’s called ‘Tunnel of Love’. This song is quite hidden away, most people now haven’t heard about it unless they LOVE Dire Straits or are really into that era of music, but it was never going to be a famous hit single, or top the charts, for a number of reasons:

1)    It’s too clever. Mark Knopfler, the author of this masterpiece, was an English Literature student with a First Class Honours, and it shows in the lyrics.

2)    Even the studio version is 8 minutes long: not great for the radio.

3)    It’s too epic.

Why do I love this song so much? Well, there’s several reasons for that too, but the primary one is the volta. The word ‘volta’ means ‘turn’, and its normally a literally term particularly relevant to sonnets. Every sonnet has a turning point, usually at line 9, but sometimes later, and in Shakespeare’s case, even on the last line. The volta is critical, because it makes the poem. A poem pursuing an interesting subject matter is suddenly resolved as the volta ‘turns’ it onto another issue altogether, sometimes deeper, and normally revelatory. Sometimes the volta is an external epiphany, and sometimes it comes from within, but anyway, I am well off topic.

The Tunnel of Love has a volta just like a poem. It starts out all rock ‘n’ roll, up-tempo, classic riffage, with a funky organ and cool bass. The lyrics tell the story of a man in a love affair taking place a fair ground:

“Getting crazy on the waltzers but it’s the life that I choose
Sing about the sixblade sing about the switchback and a torture tattoo
And I been riding on a ghost train where the cars they scream and slam
And I don’t know where I’ll be tonight but I’ll always tell you where I am.”

The frivolity of the affair is summed up with the ridiculous couplets, and the energetic descriptions of the rides. But come 5:55, that all changes. In a brilliant bridge we suddenly get this segment of what can only be called poetry, the tempo slows, the chord patterns change, the imagery moves from ridiculous and fun to beautiful and symbolic, everything suddenly flips on its head:

And girl you look so pretty to me: just like it always did.
Like the Spanish City to me: when we where kids

And then Mark Knopfler launches into a guitar piece that was nominated: “The most heartbreaking solo of all time.”

The song starts off about a frolic in a theme park with a ‘Girl I dig…’ – she calls him ‘the perfect stranger’ and says ‘maybe we should keep it like this…’ – and then, from this frivolity, in an almost Shakespearean twist, comes the tragedy of a broken heart, an unrequited affection (or an affection only physical on her part and emotional on his), and where his words stop, his guitar speaks.

Every-single-damn-time I listen to this song I get teary.

So anyway, that’s me, please, share your love-songs and if you like, your reasons behind it! Thanks for reading, and please feel free to comment!

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