13 Songs For Crushes (2016)

Songs For Crushes (And The People Who Have Them)

Do you remember your first crush? Mine was a girl named Sarah in my kindergarten class. She wore cute dresses with bows on them. One time, in gym class, we put the handles of jump ropes on our heads and pretended we were aliens. It was the romance of a lifetime! Universal Pictures in in talks to buy the rights to our story, so prepare your bodies to witness our epic love as it unfolds on the big screen. You will laugh. You will cry. You will question your life choices.

Tragically, Sarah and I parted ways after that one glorious year together. I was forced to move on to other crushes like Amy, Samantha and, um, Richard Karn? It recently dawned on me that the bearded, flannel-wearing Home Improvement star may have been my first official celebrity crush. In retrospect, this makes a ton of sense! At the time, however, I didn’t realize why I’d pay more attention when Al Borland was on my television. It was one of those life mysteries I hadn’t quite unpacked yet.

Upon coming to terms with this newfound epiphany, I turned to Twitter, Facebook and YikYak to ask both friends and strangers to share their #FirstCelebrityCrush. The final results were compiled in the deliciously tacky cover art for my new playlist, “13 Songs For Crushes + The People Who Have Them“.

Hit the play button below to take a listen, or head over here if that doesn’t work.

It’s common practice for me to brag that my latest playlist is better than my last… But I’m going to be 100% honest. There’s an (almost) intentional clumsiness to this thirteen-song collection. Some of the transitions are awkward, and rather than obsess over the sequencing, I came to enjoy how this echoed the reality of having a crush.

Things aren’t always smooth and easy-breezy. Sometimes, you get so caught up in your fantasies that you never wind up confessing your feelings. Sometimes, you get drunk and wind up saying the wrong thing. Sometimes, the magic fades after a few interactions, and you realize they were never the right person for you. And other times, you wind up spending eight years with a cute guy you met at a bar, and maybe that also involves adopting two dogs and two cats? I don’t know! These are all just random possibilities.

Enough feelings! Let’s talk about the music…

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jennifer love hewitt: ain’t no shame… in believing.

Jennifer Love Hewitt - I Believe In...

Today’s post is brought to you by Sojourner “You Can’t Handle The” Truth of Diary of a Mad Blacktress. It is the first in a series of guilty pleasures, as submitted by other writers.

So, um, I have a bit of a secret. I believe in love. I know, crazy, right? I can’t help it. It all started back in 1996 when I purchased the self-titled album of the original girl next door of my youth, Jennifer Love Hewitt (suck it, Katie HolmesCruisin’ for a Bruisin!).

Yes, I purchased a Jennifer Love Hewitt album with my own (dad’s) money. If that’s not enough to send every potential male suitor and even some good friends running for the hills, what’s worse is that… I LIKED IT.

I recall sitting in my room and singing along at the age of 12, convinced that Jennifer Love Hewitt was speaking to my soul. When she belted, “I been thinking all night / I been thinking all night / I should have trusted your love / it’s on 20/20 hindsight / I’ve been thinking I don’t want to leave it to fate, so I’m gonna pray just a little / But is it too little, too late?” I knew that my middle school tragedy was understood.

I recently played the J. Love tracks for JJS-III as we sat drinking tea on a crisp New England fall day, and I realized that J. Love resonates now just as much as she did back then. The whole album invokes an early-90s wanna-be R&B vibe, and you’re waiting for a gospel choir of hefty women to chime in during the bridge, but alas, it doesn’t happen. Her voice is perfectly acceptable, and way better than any of today’s tv-starlets-turned-singers (I’m talking to you, Leighton Meester), and what’s even better is that J. Love sends a message, as evidenced in “I Believe In…” – by far her most poignant track (what is in the ellipsis?!). The lyrics are below:

Saw the news today / A teenage boy blown away / Another mother’s lost her only son / He learned his way at school / Fighting is the golden rule / For twenty dollars you can own a gun / I saw the words in red / Someone painted “Love is dead” / On the sign above the football field / I had to turn away / It hurts my soul to think that way / When love is what’s real

‘Cause I believe in / I believe in love / And I believe in / The miracles in us / And no matter what they say / They can never take away / What I believe in / I believe in love

In 1942 / A demon army trampled through / Every inch of her forgotten town / The family hid away / A secret place above decay / And there they lived and breathed / Without a sound / She learned to write that year / Of every scream she’d dare not hear / And every tortured soul / She one day moved / One day the soldiers came / And marched her family to the train / And left her diary right in the street / And it read…

I believe in / I believe in love… (chorus continued)

Why is it that we can’t help but look for / A crack of light in the darkest sky / When will we come to understand / That through right and wrong / Love’s the only thing that’s real / So here we go again / Fighting ’til the bitter end / Better off to go our separate ways / And as you slam the door / I swear that I will love no more / But you can’t believe a word I say / And that’s right…

‘Cause I believe in / I believe in love… (chorus continued)

As you can see, this song touches on many topics. From handgun violence in schools to THE HOLOCAUST (I think she’s even going for “Anne Frank,” proving her literary prowess), and then back to her own tumultuous relationship, Love shows us that her middle name isn’t just kinda cheesy – it’s the only thing we have left to hold on to in this crazy mixed-up world! I mean, who would paint “LOVE IS DEAD” on the football field?! WHO WOULD DO IT?! I also appreciate that she said it “hurt her heart” to think that way – I mean who hasn’t been caused heartache by the denial of Jennifer Love Hewitt’s obvious talent?

No, but for serious – this song is cuckoo bananas and brilliant all at once. When you can go from talking about the Gestapo to your booface in one track, you are not messing around. J. Love paints a picture – a series of vignettes if you will – all linked by the common theme of love. By the common theme of her. If listening to J. Love is a crime, sentence me to LIFE.

discourse, but of course

Discourse - Golden Year

It’s hard to write about a band when you’ve drunkenly rolled around on the floor with one of their members. Pause for a second. That didn’t exactly come out right. To clarify, I can only recall myself being drunk in this situation. And to clarify even more (for the sake of this poor soul’s integrity), the rolling around was in the style of modern dancer Eiko Otake‘s “Delicious Movement For Remembering and Forgetting.”

“Golden Year” is a synth-pop jam from a few totally rad seniors from Wesleyan University. I know what you’re thinking… “OMG, didn’t MGMT go there? They’re so famous that I heard ‘Kids’ once at the Rainforest Cafe”, or perhaps, “Another band from those pretentious liberal arts fuckers?” But you should forget whatever terrible things you’re thinking and just accept this song into your heart. Much like Eiko Otake’s movement, it effortlessly meshes together both remembering and forgetting, as the vocalist recalls a love that’s slowly fading into the past. Also, it’s pretty damn delicious.

Be sure to check out the band’s trippy video for “Golden Year”, complete with neon colors and a little bit of Jesus. Rumor has it that they’ll be releasing some spanking new tunes in the near future, including a cover of Sonic Youth‘s “Schizophrenia”.

In conclusion: Disco revival. Inspired by Desire. Jargon? Synergy.

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