Happy Valentine’s Day 2020!
Yes, we’re romantics… Are you?
Whether Cupid is poised to strike or not, we love puppies with big eyes, chocolate mousse that tastes like air kissed with sugar, and sipping champagne bubbles while soaking in a clawfoot tub.
We trust the stars to align and manifest LOVE in all its forms – not just for sweethearts – but our love for friends and family too!
This is now the tenth year I’ve embraced Valentine’s Day by choosing a Music Video that represents my ever-evolving view on matters of the heart. Representing all the colours of passion, this year I present “If You Could Read My Mind” by Canadian singer-songwriter Gordon Lightfoot. After all, I love Canadiana music, but I also chose this song because it’s one of the first examples during my coming-of-age where I heard popular music being reinvented into a new iteration. Never had I envisioned a future where a Number 1 song that was all about heart-break could be reinvented by the magic of Disco, a music genre of the 1970s with a heavy bass beat that’s – get this – fun to dance to! And the first example to me, as a kid, was the song “If You Could Read My Mind”.
Not all of my music picks – dear reader – celebrate the emotional highs of love but its bitter truths as well. In this instance Lightfoot cited his divorce for inspiring the lyrics, saying they came to him as he was sitting in a vacant Toronto house one summer. Thanks to Wikipedia, at the request of his daughter, Ingrid, he performs the lyrics with a slight change now: the line “I’m just trying to understand the feelings that you lack” is altered to “I’m just trying to understand the feelings that we lack.” He has said in an interview that the difficulty with writing songs inspired by personal stories is that there is not always the emotional distance and clarity to make lyrical improvements such as the one his daughter suggested.
Reaching number one on Canadian music charts, this was his first recording to appear on the American music charts, reaching number 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart in February 1971. Well Done!
Here’s the original. The melancholy of the tune is amplified by the simplicity of the arrangement and the use of an acoustic guitar.
The Disco Version
Now, as a kid coming of age I was surprised to discover that sad songs could become reinvented into disco. On the one hand, the lyrics are painful but the beat inspires one to tap one’s toes. That just cracks me up.
Here’s the 1980 cover by Viola Wills which peaked at number two for five weeks on the dance/disco charts with a dance version of the song
The 1998 Dance Remix
And here’s the ultimate remix by the house music collective Stars on 54—consisting of Amber, Jocelyn Enriquez, and Ultra Naté—recorded a version of the song for the 1998 film, 54!
May your Valentine’s Day be sentimental like mine, in the best of ways. And may LOVE – in all its forms – be with you – today and always!
If you’re curious to hear my personal picks for stellar love themes, here are my past V-Day posts:
– An ode to the tropes of woodlabd creatures in Walt Disney & the secret shame of eating disorders, rooted in Karen Carpenter’s 1970 hit Close To You.
– A joyful song of devotion, Say A Little Prayer performed by Dionne Warwick, was what I was feeling in 2018!
– Representing all the shades of love and lust – with plenty of camp – with my 2017 pick of the Madonna’ 1989 track “Express Yourself”
– My 2016 naughty seductive indulgence with Madonna’s controversial 1990 video ‘Justify My Love’
– A 2015 celebration of love and real estate with the B52’s Love Shack (including a cameo by RuPaul)
– A 2014 homage to The Captain and Tenille (Steve’s first 45 record) in Hello Cupid
– The classic rock anthem “Addicted To Love” in our 2013 Happy Valentine’s post
– A hysterically funny 2012 Thumpty-Thump “Love Is In The Air” post (especially for those of you who love camp)
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