Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Seven Songs 5: The Poem

(This is the fifth in a series of seven posts, written in response to a meme that asked me what seven songs I held in highest esteem. The first of these posts is noted here.)

Your Song (Moulin Rouge OST)
- written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin

Incredibly, there are no music videos of the original "Your Song", because it was written years before anyone even considered the concept of music television. I have the Moulin Rouge version up here because 1) It emphasizes the "love" part of what's arguably the only love song among these seven pieces, and 2) It's a nice change from the music video presentations, at least. (Elton John did record a 2002 version of this with Alessandro Safina, though, and it can be viewed here.)

Yes, that's right: This song is over thirty years old. And I will argue that it's still far better than the vast majority of love songs released in the last three decades.

What is it about "Your Song" that has allowed it to survive the ravages of time? Its tune is a relatively simple one that doesn't rely on rhythm or beat to get through to its audience, its performances tend to change depending on the whim or preference of its respective artists, and it hardly even has a visual presentation to speak of. The more we look at it, the more simple it looks, and it is difficult to believe that such a simple song can outlast almost everything else of its kind.

And that's probably the reason we're looking for, I think. The song is neat and simple. It's not thunderous, flashy, or pretentious; It's just a neat and simple song. And we appreciate it for that.

Somehow, "Your Song" manages to contain a startling message within its simple lyrics: The feeling of love is there. Love does not involve complex scenes where lover meets lover, or episodes from long, excruciating relationships, or lurid descriptions of what two people are going to do to each other in bed. "Your Song" illustrates a profound truth, that love is simply one's appreciation for another's mere presence. And if that wasn't enough, it doesn't just tell us this truth as much as it actually experiences it: "Your Song" is literally a love song about writing a love song.

"Your Song" is a remarkably simple song that carries a profound message. It is, I daresay, the love song that every love song wants to be. It conveys its sentiment in what few words it can muster, and it comes in a language that any lover or lovers can understand. It's an honest song, that's what it is. It's a pure and honest song that is literally sung from the heart, and that's also why it happens to be the fifth song on my list.

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