"Endless Love" : 100 Great Love Songs (40-21)Feb 13, 2004 Write an essay on this topic.
The Bottom Line We're alone now, and I'm singing this song for you.
Welcome to the fourth installment of my look at my 100 favorite love songs. We're almost in the home stretch here-we've reached the Top 40! Be glad folks-it's almost over.
The bad thing about making lists like this is that you always recognize some glaring omission in hindsight. Or you wind up omitting things and wishing you'd let them in. I didn't want to put anything terribly current in, so St. Patrick's Day by John Mayer & Cry Me A River by Justin Timberlake got left off the list even though, in hindsight, I should've left them both in. To many folks' potential chagrin, I left certain artists out entirely!
Anyway, on with the list...
40. Missing You John Waite
And there's a message that I'm sendin' out like a telegraph to your soul/And if I can't bridge this distance, stop this heartbreak overload!
It's the oldest mental trick in the book. Try to will yourself into thinking that you're not hurt yhat your lover has dumped you. Fortunately for us listeners, John Waite wasn't so good at fooling himself. This anguished rock ballad has some excellent guitar work and the pained crooning of John Waite, who hasn't made anything as good before or since. Might also be worth it to check out the hushed cover version by Tina Turner.
39. Doin' Just Fine Boyz II Men
After all the misery and pain you put me through, so unfair to me girl, you're no longer my world, and I ain't missing you at all
Same coin as Missing You, but a different side of it. The Boyz tell a tale of being initially blindsided by the loss of a love, only to turn this song into a giant f*ck you letter by the song's conclusion. The Boyz have been known to occasionally oversing (especially when it comes to whiny Wanya Morris), but the bigheaded Boy's overdramatics are essential to this slow burner.
38. The Beautiful Ones Prince & The Revolution
If I told you baby/That I'm in love with you/Oh baby baby baby/Would we get married?/Would that be cool?
Ah yes, the beautiful ones. They hurt you every time. This ballad, set on top of a simple Linn drum pattern and the slight tinkling of a piano, turns into a full force storm towards the end as Prince turns from mournful to EXTREMELY agitated, screaming unintelligibly over some serious guitar work. Most people don't necessarily consider the Purple one to be a balladeer, but he winds up with 5 songs on this list, and had I been thinking properly, he might've had a shot at five more (㥽 Days, 'I Love You, But I Don't Trust you Anymore, Purple Rain, etc.).
37. When We Dance Sting
If he loved you/Like I love you/I would walk away in shame/I'd move town, I'd change my name
When we dance...angels will run and hide their wings is the chorus of this song, and that should tell you all you need to know about this song. Sting looks the woman he's in love with straight in the eye and says she will never be as happy with her intended as she would be with him. Once again, considering the poetry that comes out of Sting's mouth, it's pretty hard to argue the point.
36. Crazy For You Madonna
I see you in the smoky air/Can't you feel the weight of my stare/You're so close but still so far away
The ultimate school-dance ballad of the 80's, this is the song that liberated Madonna from her disco-dolly image, becoming her second #1 single, and also marking her as the queen of the soundtrack. This song from Vision Quest floated by on an airy synth beat, powered almost solely by Madonna's excellent vocal. At the end when she mumbles the title line, it's almost too much.
35. Ex-Factor Lauryn Hill
Tell me who I have to be/To gain some reciprocity/Cause no one loves you more than me/And no one ever will
If Wyclef Jean has done nothing else for his entire career, he should both be commended and cursed for inspiring this stunningly emotional breakup song. Lauryn emotes all over this old-soul inspired track, featuring hypnotic background vocals and a blistering Santana-esque guitar solo at the end. The lyrics hinted at Lauryn unravelling, and what she's done since has confirmed it. Damn you, Wyclef.
34. Tender Love The Force MD's
I lay here all alone/Tossing, turning/Longing for some of your tender love
Time may have taken 3 of the original 5 MD's too soon, but this dramatic piano ballad remains the definitive legacy of the very first hip-hop/R&B group. Produced by the legendary Jam & Lewis, this close harmony ballad set the template for Boyz II Men, *Nsync and all the other groups who like a little doo-wop in their hip-hop. Not the strongest song lyrically, but the pleading vocals and the dramatic arrangement make this song a winner.
33. Brilliant Disguise Bruce Springsteen
Tonight our bed is cold/Lost in the darkness of our love/God have mercy on the man/Who doubts what he's sure of
Other than Marvin Gaye's demonically brilliant Here, My Dear, Bruce Springsteen's Tunnel Of Love, in my humble opinion, is the greatest breakup album of all time. This song perfectly captures the moment when you realize that what you fell in love with may NOT be what you have standing in front of you...and you may not be the same person that they fell in love with either. Did the gypsy lie when she said their future was bright? Judging from the bittersweet vibe of this song, probably so.
32. Endless Love Diana Ross & Lionel Richie
No one can deny/This love I have inside/And I'll give it all to you/My love...my endless love
Why is this song on this countdown? Yeah, partially for the vocal chemistry that the two Motown legends have, as well as Richie's just-this-short-of sappy lyric. On a personal note, my aunt married her husband 20 years ago to this song, and through 3 kids and the usual trials and tribulations of life, they're still together and as strong as ever. So this song, by virtue of this relationship, gave me something to set my sights on as far as what I want out of a relationship. Endless love, indeed.
31. I Keep Forgettin' (Every Time You're Near) Michael McDonald
I know you're not mine...anymore, anyway, anytime
The most soulful melanin-deficient singer in history, Michael McDonald's records have occasionally not been worthy of his strong voice. But his first solo single is one of the most emotionally charged ballads I've ever heard, topped off by a moody, brooding vocal from McD. Your ex will always be your ex, no matter how many different people they date or how many times they get married. Occasionally, you might forget that the relationship has ended, or be reminded by a smile, the sound of a voice. Memory loss has never sounded so heartbreaking.
30. And So It Goes Billy Joel
But if my silence made you leave, then that would be my worst mistake. So I will share this room with you, and you can have this heart to break
Story of my life. Meet someone. Develop feelings for them. Get tossed on my head. Consequently, I've got more than a few abandonment issues. This song sums my situation up more eloquently than I ever could. It also turns on the waterworks quicker than 95% of the other songs I've heard. The real treat here is hearing Billy decide that even though his heart's been broken a million times, he feels strongly enough in this other person that he's willing to take the step of falling in love anyway.
29. A Song For You Donny Hathaway
And if my words don't come together, listen to the melody 'cause my love is in there hiding
The first time I heard this song was in a future conquest's apartment, listening to the Disappearing Acts in the dark soundtrack. The setting only added to the intimacy and directness of this song. It's a song as personal as the title suggests. From the runs up and down to the piano scale, to Donny's gospel-hued voice, this song is guaranteed to send shivers up your spine.
28. You & I Stevie Wonder
In my mind...we can conquer the world...
A gentle swirl of synthesizers and piano surround Stevie's vocal as he pledges allegiance to the power of two. When you feel so secure around a person that you feel you can take on anything that comes your way, that's love for sure, and no one sings about it better than Stevie.
27. Lookin' At The Front Door Main Source
We fight every night, now that's not kosher/I reminisce with bliss of when we was closer/And wake up to be greeted by an argument again...you act like you're 10
The most obscure record on the whole Top 100 is also the only hip-hop record on this Top 100. With a haunting old-school sample in the background, lead rapper Large Professor is frustrated with a girl who wants a trophy boyfriend, and consequently cuts him down every chance she gets, to the point where he wish(es) you would come down with lockjaw. Welcome to the bitter taste of love past, early 90's hip-hop style.
26. Single Everything But The Girl
Look at me without you, I'm so proud of myself
Anyone who thought trip-hop/drum 'n bass had no emotion or no soul obviously never heard one of this brit duo's excursions into the realm of electronica. With an aching voice perfectly suited for lovelorn, weary ballads, EBTG's Tracey Thorn created the perfect picture of what happens when someone is devastated by the loss of a love but still tries to front like everything's OK. This is one of several heartbreaking EBTG ballads, and to think that Thorn and bandmate/partner Ben Watt have been happily married for over a decade.
.25. At This Moment Billy Vera & The Beaters
I'd fall down on my knees/Kiss the ground that you walk on, baby/If I could just hold you again
Although this song will always be initially recognized as the Family Ties love theme during the Alex/Ellen relationship, Vera's soulful ballad will strike a resonant chord even in those who are not 80's TV junkies. The sax sounds like it's crying, the guitar sounds like it's crying., Vera is wailing away to the point where he says he'll lop twenty years off of his life if his woman comes back. Yet another excellent blue-eyed soul ballad.
24. One Step Up Bruce Springsteen
Last night I dreamt I held you in my arms/The music was never ending/We danced as the evening sky faded to black...
Yet another song from Bruce's Tunnel Of Love, the dark acoustic chords tell a tale of a man who's resigned that his marriage is dying. In the song's last verse, he spots a young lady in a bar, and she ain't lookin' too married...as for me, well i'm pretendin'. At the end of the song, in a case of art imitating life, the haunting background vocals are handled by Patti Scialfa, who became Bruce's wife after he left first wife Julianne Phillips, shortly after this document of the deterioration of his marriage was released.
23. Father Figure George Michael
I will be the one who loves you...till the end of time
Airy, sparse and slightly smutty, George Michael blurred the lines of lovin' a little bit on this song with the excessive use of the word baby (not to mention the song's chorus) blurring the line between romantic love and paternal love. Then again, don't most girls want a man just like their daddy? This song has a bit of a mysterious air, goosed by the horror-movie esque keyboard line, the choral backgrounds and George's semi-whispered husky vocals. This Prince-esque ballad also brought George a huge #1 hit and brought him to the R&B top Ten for the second time as a solo artist.
22. Every Breath You Take The Police
I look around but it's you I can't replace/I feel so cold and I long for your embrace/I keep cryin'/Baby, baby please...
While there are several classic elements to this song, the #1 record of the 80's, this record retains otherworldliness after 21 years because of Andy Summers' expertly placed guitar and Sting's overwrought, just-on-the-edge-of-going-bananas bridge. Anyone who pegged this as a simple love song from the beginning had to be a little unsettled when Sting 's voice raised a bit and he started screaming since youve gone, i've been lost without a trace/I dream at night I can only see your face.... In a career filled with expertly written songs, this is the top of them all for Sting.
21. Tell Her This Del Amitri
Tell her something in my heart needs her more than even clowns need the laughter of the crowd
Del Amitri's Justin Currie is a Scottish dude who wears his heart on his sleeve. Many of his band's songs celebrate the bitter side of love with tongue occasionally in cheek. On Tell Her This, the emotion is laid bare, as simple as the acoustic guitar and accordion that provide the only musical accompaniment to Currie's aching vocals. Another song that sounds like it was recorded at the bottom of a beer mug, Tell Her This is a beautifully understated ode to reassuring love.
Well, folks, only 20 more songs to go. I can barely hold the excitement in...oops! Now look what you made me do. My excitement has busted out and is all over the floor.
Stay tuned and thanks for reading!
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