A lot of the pop songs out on the radio these days are, frankly, pretty terribly written or engineered or performed. But there are bits and pieces of poetry in some pop artists' pieces, and I find that these songs invariantly end up being the ones that move me the most...
One such artist is Jann Arden. Not all of her songs are good, but there are some gems in there. "If You Loved Me" is one of these gems. Unfortunately, I can't find a YouTube video of it, but here are some lyrics from the bridge, which is my favourite part. The music is really needed to complete the effect though.
I would clench my handsI love this part of the song. It captures perfectly all the yearning, selfless feelings that sometimes accompanies love - wanting to take care of someone ("I would watch you sleep and count your sheep"), wanting to please him or her ("I'd pour your drink"). Yet at the some time, there is something ridiculous and obsessive about the narrator's lines. Submission may accompany selflessness. We see it here in her claims ("I'd hardly eat, I would not cost a cent." or "I'd would never think"), and we worry that she will lose herself. She doesn't sound like she has much self-esteem. But that's not surprising. Love may require, in turn, selflessness and submissiveness. And one can lose oneself in love.
and hold my breath
and promise to be true
I would never speak
I’d hardly eat
I would not cost a cent
I would watch you sleep
and count your sheep
and lie beside the bed
I would never think
I’d pour your drink
I’d laugh at every joke you tell
Another one such artist is Dido. Now, Dido has been criticized for being a songwriter who writes "vanilla", slow, boring music that appeals only to older women. I think these are valid arguments regarding her first two albums, but not her third album. Her third album, Safe Trip Home, is filled with so much poetry that I feel compelled to return to it again and again. Also of note is the fact that she used only organic sounds for this album. Nothing is electronic and the arrangements are sparse but they are also subtle. A bit tribal, even. Listen to this song, about her father's death...