Love Song Yearbook: Ten Songs That Shaped My Idea of Love

"I tried to convince him that music made you feel stuff, preferably stuff that would make him take his clothes off."

by Philippa Van Loon

The music we like when we're young shapes us in a lot of ways. It might give you a lifelong disrespect for The Man, or it might make you a hopeless romantic. In Love Song Yearbook, we're interested in what songs shaped your idea of love at different ages. Want to submit your own Love Song Yearbook? Email submissions@nerve.com with "Love Song Yearbook" in the subject line.

Age five - "Loving You," Minnie Riperton
My parents have never played a lot of music, so I don't feel like I've been influenced that much by them. However, one of the earliest memories I have was messing with the record player and putting on this record. (And what a great sleeve: Minnie Riperton holding a melting ice cream. I thought it was just sad at the time — the eroticism became apparent a great while later.) As a kid, I think I just really liked the birds tweeting in the background, but recently, I realized this shamelessly soppy song is one of the reasons I've got a persistent romantic streak.

 

Age nine - "One Way or Another," Blondie
I owe a large part of my musical education to the Muppets. At the age of nine, my Blondie obsession was further fuelled by a great video of Debbie Harry bouncing around The Muppet Show stage and opening lots of doors, only to be met by surprised/angry monsters. It took me a while to piece together that this song is basically an ode to the necessity of restraining orders — driving past someone's house in the middle of the night to check if they were there seemed like a plausible romantic premise when I was nine.

 

Age fourteen - "I Don't Want To Miss A Thing," Aerosmith
My first boyfriend was French, and although that may sound very sophisticated, it just meant I didn't understand why it was such a good idea for him to stick his tongue down my throat. He was four years my senior, and at the ripe old age of eighteen, quite sexually experienced. He would talk of STD testing and miraculous erections, both of which I vowed never to get near to. We watched Armageddon, (in French and without my glasses, though I think I got the gist of it), and "I Don't Want To Miss A Thing" really stuck with my melodramatic teenage self for a while, and was very applicable to many a crush back home in the Netherlands, but still mainly reminds me of that sweet little Frenchman.

 

Age sixteen - "Narcotic," Liquido
This one-hit wonder really took over the airwaves in the late '90s when I spent every summer in the south of France, trying to fit in. This song always triggers an immediate response of wanting to accommodate uninteresting people and drink rum and Cokes. I have a vivid memory of this this song blaring from the old Peugeot we drove as we pulled up to a huge cliff overlooking the river where I got drunk for the first time. I must have been sixteen; I remember the glassblower's son was tall, dreamy, and completely out of my league.

 

Age seventeen - "Stay," Lisa Loeb
Ethan Hawke fuelled the cultivation of my teenage angst in the '90s. His brooding and faux philosophizing made me think there was a nerdy, self-destructive soul out there for me. "Stay" became the soundtrack I played for days on end while thinking about the dark-haired, blue-eyed sixteen-year old I had decided was my soul mate. I stuck to that idea for four years, and the closest it came to reciprocation was when he called once to say he missed me. We did have a romp, years later; it was wildly mediocre.

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