Published January 09 2014
Why is pop music obsessed with love?
Everything, if we’re talking about music.
There are songs about politics and religion, friendship and families.
But no one topic can dominate the charts quite like love, and we’ll see a big reminder of that this Saturday when Pink takes the stage at the Fargodome.
She’s topped the charts for the past year with three big singles about the darker side of love – “Blow Me (One Last Kiss),” “Try” and “Just Give Me a Reason,” the No. 2 best-selling song in the country for the first half of 2013, according to SoundScan.
Or we can go back to late September, when Taylor Swift packed the Fargodome to sing song after song about all the shades of love. The 24-year-old pop and country superstar has made a career out of singing about failed relationships and wishing for love, and with a well-publicized love life and plenty of breakups, she has a lot of material to work with.
But Pink and Swift aren’t trailblazers about this – music has always been obsessed with love.
The topic has long been a crutch for songwriters, an easy theme to focus on for one jam or an entire album. The Beatles’ catalog is full of love, and even if Paul McCartney was mocked for his “silly love songs,” the audience never tired of it.
John Lennon, the more cynical leader of The Beatles, penned the anthem “All You Need is Love” because he wanted a song with a clear, universally understood message when the band performed in front of an international television audience of 400 million in 1967.
Maybe it’s just laziness that love still seems to be all songwriters need today. Songs about love have worked in the past, so why not write another one?
But there’s a different way of looking at this obsession. Maybe love is the perfect topic because it can simultaneously be simple and intensely complicated, giving songwriters so many points to examine that they’ll never run out of ideas.
There’s never going to be a shortage of new lines about how amazing it feels to fall in love, and how that can change everything else in a person’s life.
The same goes with the opposite of love – it’s hard to think of a topic with as many layers of complexity as a breakup.
Songwriters can tackle being sick of love, or anxiously waiting to find a first love, or being apart from a significant other, and still find fresh angles.
We have songs about purely physical relationships, romantic love and even about still being in love with an ex years after splitting up.
Love is a simple word for a complicated emotion, which is precisely what makes it a powerful subject. It’s the kind of unlimited pool of inspiration that artists dream of, no matter their medium, genre or individual circumstances.
Pink won’t be the first to sing about love at the Fargodome, and she certainly won’t be the last. Lady Antebellum and Justin Timberlake, scheduled to perform there in early 2014, can both credit their biggest hits to the topic of love.
When it comes to this musical theme, the masses have already spoken – “I will always love you.”
Readers can reach Forum reporter
Ryan Johnson at (701) 241-5587