Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Best Pop Songs of All Time

Well, at least I think....

As I said earlier, I have given up listening to the radio in the car, and it's becoming increasingly hard to do. I listen to a lot of music and sometimes silence. Tonight I listened to the anthem album of women of my age, Carole King's Tapestry. It has two of the best pop songs of all time, if not the best from a woman.

Will you still love me tomorrow is about as poignant as it gets. I cry, because it's the song of millions of women (and maybe men) who make a decision they know they will regret. Or maybe not. The song ends with an indication that she is changing her mind. Here are the words.

Tonight you're mine completely
You give you love so sweetly
Tonight the light of love is in your eyes
But will you love me tomorrow?

Is this a lasting treasure
Or just a moment's pleasure?
Can I believe the magic of your sighs?
Will you still love me tomorrow?

Tonight with words unspoken
You say that I'm the only one
But will my heart be broken
When the night meets the morning sun?

I'd like to know that your love
Is love I can be sure of
So tell me now, and I won't ask again
Will you still love me tomorrow?

Of course, it depends on who is singing it. When Carole King, who wrote it, sings the song, I get the feeling she's truly not sure. I've heard other versions where it's an obligatory question, and others where the singers are mocking the idea that the questions even matter. But I think the original lyricist gets first dibs on the meaning. And lots of singers have sung it, by the way, as this wikipedia link shows: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Will_You_Love_Me_Tomorrow

The other great pop song on the album is "You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman." It's not poignant, it's gutsy, real, deep down, bluesy, wild, especially the way she sings it. The best line, "When my soul was in the lost and found, you came along and reclaimed it; I didn't know just what was wrong with me, but your kiss helped me name it." I have my own reasons for liking this song, but like the first one mentioned here, it's been very popular and recorded over and over.

My next post will be about a great movie I saw last night for the first time (and it's old and black and white), but it contains the song, "Going Home" from the Dvorak New World Symphony. The song puts me in tears, and especially did in this movie. But that's for tomorrow. My point is that songs--the right mixture of tune and lyrics--can send us over the emotional edge and stay with us for a long, long time. I do not have a sense of smell, so sound takes its place in emotional memory.

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