Singing "I Love You" in a song is a risky thing. There are countless saccharine piano ballads, empty pop anthems and melodramatic indie folk songs using it with no success. When used badly, it sounds cliché, awkward, fake or tryhard. But when used well, it's one of the most powerful things you can say. Here are some of my favourites. Simon & Garfunkel - For Emily, Whenever I May Find Her
- This short song off of Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme is simple but tragic, and it highlights the duo's poetic lyricism and delicate voices. The I Love You
is sung twice at the end, the first one serving as a step up to the climax. The second one sounds urgent and desperate, as a conclusion that you knew would come at the beginning of the song. The instrumentation stops immediately after the confession, making it all the more powerful. Joose Keskitalo - Kaupungit Puristuvat Puristimissa
- I once tried to learn a bit of Finnish and quickly gave up. However, I still remember Minä Rakastan Sua
, which translates to I Love You
. In this song, the narrator finds himself alienated by modernity and industrialisation, suffocating slowly while living in the city. Each of the three refrains conclude with Minä Rakastan Sua
, and at the end it's repeated 4 times. The penultimate one sounds especially vulnerable, as he reaches for a high note. The last I Love You
is a whisper, which usually never works, but here it surprisingly does. Gal Costa - Baby
- It's time for a happier song! This blissful Tropicalia tune is irresistable. The song's lyrics are all over the place, as Gal Costa says the I Love You
is written on her shirt. Costa, backed by Caetano Veloso, sounds elegant but seductive, while the strings seem to answer to her voice. Spinvis - Voor Ik Vergeet
- This Dutch song has dementia as its central theme. The entire song is the narrator listing the things he will eventually forget, in a stream of consciousness style. This list culminates in him saying I Love You
, and realizing that after he has forgotten her, he will only be able to dream. As a Dutch speaker, Ik hou van jou
usually sounds a lot more serious and awkward than the English version, but here it's earnest and warm.
Those are some of my favourites, what are yours? What makes a good I Love You
? What is the worst one you've ever heard?