[This is the first installment of Vista's monthly playlist series. Each month we will put together a list of songs on a particular theme, write a short piece explaining our rationale behind the chosen songs, and it's our hope that you will listen along!]
Valentine's Day is around the corner and what better way to celebrate the month than with a playlist with love as its theme!
What is love? Love is presumed to have an object or recipient; we speak of love for neighbor, self, God, friends, vocations, and more. In this month’s playlist we have put together a diverse range of songs that all profess different objects and recipients of love. Take for example Hoodie Allen’s “All for Me,” listed near the beginning of the playlist. In his opening line Allen sings, “I need someone who’s gonna do it all / Give me love like it’s the only thing I really want…” The presumption here is that love is precisely what the title says it is, all for me. Allen’s chorus is revealing, “Can you do it all for me?” For Allen, love isn’t about offering himself to someone or something outside himself; it’s about what he can receive. Put simply, love in “All for Me” is entirely conditional.
But Allen doesn’t have the last say on love in this playlist. We Are Scientists offer us a grace-filled track with their hit “After Hours” declaring that “This door is always open…say that you’ll stay.” Then there’s The 1975 with their song “She’s American,” a powerful track that makes me wonder if love would ever require someone to change, my hunch being no.
Overall, this playlist was curated with the intention of helping us think about love in all its madness, wonder, distortion, humanness, and beauty. More often than not we love terribly; we make it all about ourselves, what we can get out of it, what conditions must be met, etc. In short, we love like the law, that is, you are only accepted if such and such is met. As one of my favorite writers on the blogosphere put it “There is no more crushing law than ‘thou shall complete me.” Listen for the tracks that take us beyond this kind of "love," which is really no love at all.