The Pop Quest for Love

Love is probably the most covered subject in popular music. Lyricists have agonised over love, celebrated it, condemned it, embraced it and nearly all have discussed it at some point.

The quest for love is something which is hard to define. Everybody wants to be loved; lyricists both recognise this and display it constantly. Within love many may discuss lust and hate in equal measure.

Certainly the two finest examples I can think of where a lyricist explains what love is as an emotion – and, importantly, how humans react to it – are Morrissey’s line in How Soon Is Now “I am human and I need to be loved/just like everybody else does” and John Lennon’s summarising in this topic’s eponymous masterpiece “Love is needing to be loved”.

John Lennon amongst his ‘loved ones’

Lennon also told us that “love is all you need”, but is it? Certainly a case could be put forward for hate’s necessity in art, especially pop. Without hate would Lennon’s contemporary Bob Dylan have written tracks such as A Hard Rain’s Gonna’ Fall? Then again, “love is one of the necessary components you need, but is not the only” isn’t nearly as catchy now is it?

The reason I’m pondering and discussing all this is due to listening to the aforementioned Love by John Lennon and being overpowered by its resonance. It just goes to show that a song you’ve heard hundreds of times can still move you to distraction. Which is exactly why I love music.

John Lennon – Love


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