Book Review: Ted Gioia’s Love Songs: The Hidden History

by Rachel Baker on February 27, 2015

Below is a fantastic review of Ted Gioia’s new book Love Songs: The Hidden History. The review is written by James Parker and its well worth your time.

Here’s the Article: Endless Love

Beyond bliss? Symphonies in the head? Are these love songs or sex songs or some kind of new religion? All three, evidently. Lust chimes in Derulo’s molars. Grande struts and flutters. Ooh, ooh, we’re in the moment. You and me, me and you. Transcendence is the promise, or the commodity—escape from the self via big, jangling booty. Surface-to-air sensuality, fornication on the heights. Spritz it with the eros of late late capitalism, that fizzing, unappeasable need, and you’ve got yourself a hit.

Not that all the love songs on the radio are so saucy-celestial. Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space” is platonically chaste by comparison (I’ve got a blank space, baby / And I’ll write your name). And “Habits (Stay High),” the sleeper hit by Tove Lo, is sorrowful and world-darkened: You’re gone and I gotta stay / High all the time / To keep you off my mind. (The first time I heard this song, driving along, I started shouting. “Now this is a bit more like it! Are you hearing this? This is fantastic. This is real. She’s saying that she’s doing drugs because her heart is broken!”) But the beautiful confusion of soul and body, the prickle in the ether and the prickle in the underpants, is—according to Ted Gioia’s fascinating new volume, Love Songs: The Hidden History—intrinsic to the genre. “In a very real sense,” Gioia writes, “our modern discourse of love, even at its most carnal, is constructed on a foundation of spiritual aspirations and metaphysical paradigms.” Go, cat, go!

This article was written by: Rachel Baker – Click to follow on Twitter; or you can follow her at The Crafty Veteran on Bloglovin

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