Silly love songs

Circa 1985

Circa 1985

A whole lotta love went into the Love-Sex-Marriage Issue this year. Our managing editor, Meredith J. Cooper, shaped a compelling cover-story package. Elsewhere, we’ve got love in 15 Minutes, sex in GreenWays, marriage in From The Edge.

Reading all these stories triggered some sort of flashback function in my mental iPod. I got transported back to particularly romantic periods in my life, and songs that typified my mindset came back with digital clarity. It’s amazing how much I’ve changed, yet at heart stayed fundamentally the same.

I know I’m going to regret sharing this; I’m blushing already, and I haven’t even gotten to the embarrassing part. Hopefully this reminiscence will produce more nostalgia trips than ribbing …

1982—Joe Jackson, “Steppin’ Out”

Ah, my first girlfriend, Stacy. We met at a teen-club party, where this came over the radio:

“We / Are young but getting old before our time / We’ll leave the TV and the radio behind / Don’t you wonder what we’ll find / Steppin’ out tonight.”

Fifteen-year-olds with bus passes don’t do a lot of steppin’ out into the night, but the spirit was there. For a few months, anyway.

1985—Tears for Fears, “Head Over Heels”

Heading off to college was a transitional time in many respects. Right before I left, I met Alisa, a tough but sweet New Wave girl. I made her the ’80s equivalent of a mix tape that included other songs, but this was the one I blasted in my dorm room:

“Something happens and I’m head over heels / Ah, don’t take my heart, don’t break my heart / Don’t, don’t, don’t throw it away.”

You know where this was headed. Moving on …

1986—Depeche Mode, “Somebody”

After the meteoric romance with Betsy (junior woman, freshman guy; Southern belle, SoCal dude—could that’ve ever worked?) came mopey wistfulness. Brace yourself:

“I want somebody to share / Share the rest of my life / Share my innermost thoughts / Know my intimate details / Someone who’ll stand by my side / And give me support / And in return / She’ll get my support /

“She will listen to me / When I want to speak / About the world we live in / And life in general / Though my views may be wrong / They may even be perverted / She’ll hear me out / And won’t easily be converted / To my way of thinking / In fact she’ll often disagree / But at the end of it all / She will understand me.”

That’s actually still important to me, and what I wound up finding with Amy. I just wish my inner truth weren’t so cringe-inducing.

Skipping right up to the woman who’d become my wife, we come to …

2005—Kelly Clarkson, “Before Your Love”

“I wonder how I ever made it through a day / How did I settle for the world in shades of gray / When you go in circles all the scenery looks the same / And you don’t know why / Then I looked into your eyes / Where the road stretched out in front of me / And I realized … ”

Sing along now:

“I’d never lived / Before your love / I’d never felt / Before your touch … ”

Oh, am I gonna get it.