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Five modern love songs

Some love songs are go-tos for lovers lost in amorous bliss. But as you are an Xtra reader, I’m certain you would appreciate an updated list of love songs from modern times. So toss out your Whitney tapes and set your Meat Loaf CDs on fire; here are five love songs for 21st-century lovers.

Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, “Same Love”

At first I was disappointed to learn Ben Haggerty, aka Macklemore, is straight. However, this song, written from the perspective of a gay 13-year-old, perhaps holds more power in the fact that Haggerty is a proud queer ally.

Haggerty wrote “Same Love” to support the gay marriage movement in his home state of Washington and as a comment on homophobia in hip-hop music.

“Misogyny and homophobia are the two acceptable means of oppression in hip-hop culture. It’s 2012. There needs to be some accountability,” he said last year. “I think that as a society we’re evolving, and I think hip hop has always been a representation of what’s going on in the world right now.”

Fiona Apple, “Valentine”

In my music geek opinion, Fiona Apple’s The Idler Wheel is the best album of 2012. And, by the way, the full title is: The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do.
I am still reeling from the news that Fiona’s fourth full-length album lost to Gotye in the best alternative album category at last week’s Grammys.

Apple has always been mature beyond her years. The Idler Wheel is a coherent, powerful collection of cutting piano ballads that demonstrates her songwriting has matured to a place of perfection.

As usual, Apple presents some inspired narratives.
For example, on “Valentine” she sings, “You didn’t see my valentine. I sent it via pantomime. While you were watching someone else. I stared at you and cut myself.”

The xx, “Angels”

I was a little underwhelmed by British trio’s The xx’s sophomore album Coexist. Extremely similar to their strong self-titled debut, this is Coexist’s one memorable song. Yet it remains a solid, sleepy composition, which is what The xx does best.

Divine Fits, “My Love Is Real”

I can’t help but think this song is about the disintegration of Divine Fits vocalist Dan Boeckner’s relationship with his Handsome Furs band mate and wife, Alexei Perry. When I interviewed the duo at Ottawa Bluesfest 2009, they seemed content together. I hope I am wrong, but the lyrics of this song indicate otherwise. Divine Fits’ self-titled debut would have ranked at number three on my “best of 2012” album list, behind Apple and Bloc Party’s Four, had I not been sidelined by the mega-flu for most of December.

Wild Flag, “Romance”

Led by queer icon Carrie Brownstein (who avoids labels but mostly identifies as bisexual) super group Wild Flag’s 2011 debut is fresh and innovative. This lead single off Wild Flag combines pop, punk and rock and rises in the middle with a crescendo that would shame any male guitarist. “Romance” explodes from the very first second and maintains a frenzied tempo all the way through, which is an apt description for the physical love I hope you all took part in tonight.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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