1. If you wanted to, you could say Bob Dylan never got over the woman in “Tangled Up in Blue,” that she has been the inspiration for many (many) of his songs. I like to think so. Who’s to say? But the privilege of the music fan is that we’re allowed to think whatever we want. Sorry Bob! I know you hate that.
2. How to know when a relationship “just isn’t fated”? I don’t know, but Lauryn Hill and Mary J. Blige are pretty good at it.
3. If we could devote our entire waking life to a romantic dream, maybe it would actually happen, or so I always felt while listening to Weezer’s “Only in Dreams” as a teenager. If we give up, so the argument goes, we’ll have no chance. We forget that it is not our job to make love happen. But we have limitless energy to convince this person that they should be ours. Surely that is enough to make them ours!
4. Matthew Good’s relationships tend to be depicted as comets: beautiful blasts of cosmic energy that seem to die out as quickly as they appeared.
5. In “Tougher Than the Rest,” Bruce Springsteen doesn’t promise anything except that he will stick around, which made me realize, maybe for the first time, that this is actually a valuable trait. He is not “handsome” (well, he is), he is not “good-looking” (um), he is not “sweet-talking” (true). But he is “tough.”
This has been an abbreviated version of some thoughts on five rather uncomfortable love songs that mean a great deal to me.