We all have that special song that reminds us of a loved one. Depending on the day or our mood, every song on the Lite FM dial can do that. Since some of our musical tastes aren’t that discriminating, I asked an expert for her opinion on the top three most romantic songs.
Doctor Susan Weiss, Peabody Institute faculty member in both the Department of Musicology and the Department of German and Romance Languages, draws from her blend of knowledge to determine the most romantic love songs. Her top three choices are “Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye” by Cole Porter, “All the Things You Are” by Jerome Kern, and “Our Love is Here to Stay” by George and Ira Gershwin.
Of the three, Cole Porter’s song is her favorite, in part because Porter wrote it the year she was born. Not only does Weiss enjoy all the jazz legends’ takes on this song, from “Ol’ Blue Eyes” Frank to Fitzgerald, but she’s also impressed with Annie Lennox’s cover on behalf of the Red Hot Benefit for AIDS.
For Weiss the song is beautiful because, “The words express a profound emotion matched by the musical setting.” One way Porter evokes these feelings is with a contradiction between the lyrics and the musical harmony. During the refrain, “But how strange the change from major to minor every time we say goodbye,” the harmony actually moves from a minor to major key.
It’s as if Porter encourages us to be hopeful that “goodbyes” aren’t final. That is quite the love song.
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