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Virago’s List of Best and Worst Love Songs (Ara’s)

1) Into Your Arms/Nick Cave

Nick Cave can murder us with eroticism then resurrect us with something biblical. “Into Your Arms” is a six inch gold blade cutting through a faint heart. It is mutiny in heaven and the messiah ward. You will get lost in the music, like a rainy night in Soho in God’s motel. Love is like the sweetest embrace by the river at night. The moon is in the gutter but all the pretty little horses come into my sleep. Love is delirium, an idiot prayer, clean hands dirty hands and the ship of fools. So come sweetheart come. Come into my arms, kiss me black and find the dim locator. You’re home, sweet home.

2) To Ramona/Bob Dylan

The first time I heard this song I was walking in forest behind an old farmhouse. It seemed like Dylan was telling me to break free and run. I was a girl from the country who never wanted to ride a horse, a spirit in a world that never fit me the way it promised it would. I felt guilty for not loving a boy that loved me but I felt more guilty for pretending that I did. Inside I was slowly buying a bus ticket to gone. I walked through the fields for ten more years before I jumped the picket fence. No matter how much that boy loved me, I just couldn’t be a part of a world that didn’t exist.

3) Within Your Reach/The Replacements

Courtney Love’s favorite Replacement’s song. When Westerberg came up with the line: “Live without your touch, die within your reach” he wrote himself into lyrical infamy. Is there anything more suspended than loving someone who can never be yours but taking what you can get, because it’s better than getting nothing? The quiet desperation in Westerberg’s voice can’t be misheard. He’s singing about something he’s had between his fingers and couldn’t hold onto tightly enough. Stars are most beautiful when they’re dying.

1) The Lady in Red/Chris De Burgh

Hate. It. My father thought this song was the greatest. Whenever he got attached to a love song, we would hear it over and over until he got over it. He had it on repeat in the garage while he ran on the treadmill. I sat on the back porch smoking a Newport 100 wondering what in the fuck he saw in that pussified excuse for a love song. Then, he got my mother on it. So I was getting it from inside and outside the house. After about four weeks, my father moved onto Celine Dion…which brings me to my next, shitty, love song.

2) The Power of Love/Celine Dion

Again. Hate it. To me, Celine Dion sounds like she swallowed one of those birthday party horns. I had to hear this song every morning for at least a month. My father lifted weights to this song, drove in the car to this song, watched the TV on mute to this song. When I told him it was the worst he looked like I just told him I did coke off of the hood of grandma’s car. Basically, this song is too clean. Like running my fingers across a dishwasher plate. I want a little dirty in my love songs. Like I will love you baby, love you…Real. Good. Mhmmm *Cue Barry White*.

3) Wonderful Tonight/Eric Clapton

Get your empty whiskey bottles ready, because I’m going to blast the hell out of Clapton. I never bought his pseudo blues shit for one second and I certainly didn’t buy this weak ass attempt at a love song. It depresses the hell out of me. If a man tells me I look wonderful, I suddenly feel like his mother’s new carpet. To me, it sounds like an apology after someone got caught with their trousers on the floor. “Come on baby. You look wonderful tonight. Dance with me like I just didn’t have my stuff out front.” This song is 2 a.m. at every piss-drunk bar where the hanger-oners are scrambling for some takeout. I would burn this song with the same match that lit Hendrix’s guitar on fire. Now that’s a love song.


About Ara Harris

Music junkie, Atari 2600 bringer backer, word maker upper, loves to photograph and write about suburban decay. Ara grew up on a corner lot in small town Ohio. She began escaping the micro minds of the Midwest by listening to music, watching b films, and touring the cities in her mind. She wrote poetry on the back of algebra tests and asked Lou Reed to take her to prom. Two decades later she self published a full collection of poetry that one reader described as “a Tom Verlaine riff in every synapse”. She believes that we all have a gift, we just have to find it.

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