Well, friends, it’s already been a year since last Valentine’s Day! Who would’ve thought we’d make it this far? In honor of that fact, we’re back with another set of Intern Picks, with the theme of Love Songs.
Ayden’s Pick: Patti Smith — Frederick
“Frederick” is the bold opener and lead single off Patti Smith’s controversial fourth album, Wave. Upbeat, dancey, and indulgent, the track is a surprising departure from Smith’s punk and spoken word roots. The song, which was written for her future husband Fred “Sonic” Smith of the MC5, sees the artist at her most giddy and girlish. Although it received critique for its simplicity and accessibility, that’s exactly why “Frederick” is a fantastic love song— falling for someone has a tendency to make us cheesy, not profound. Patti Smith, famous for her esoteric poetics, manages to embrace this reality with the kind of unique eloquence that she’s best known for. And it makes you want to dance.
Lindsay’s Pick: LANY — ILYSB
One of my all-time favorite love songs has to be LANY’s single, “ILYSB”, which is an acronym for ‘I love you so bad.’ Specifically, the stripped-down version is a beautiful representation of what young crazy love sounds like. The California-dream-sounding track was released as a part of the band’s first EP, Make Out in 2015. Initially, the song sounds like a soft, dreamy testament to love; however lead singer, Paul Klein, decided to change the direction of the song’s meaning in the music video. He stated, “I had an opportunity to flip the script, to beautifully blindside the fan and the critic. I turned ‘ILYSB’ into a tragedy of unhealthy obsession and unrequited love that ultimately led to psychotic behavior and total derailment.” By doing this LANY was able to show how sick love can make people through what sounds like a soft love song.
Taylor’s Pick: Janet Jackson — Together Again
As we all know, The Velvet Rope is Janet’s best record. And never does the album feel warmer and more full of life than on the Diana Ross-ian “Together Again.” A love song in an atypical sense, the track works well enough on the surface as a paean to someone estranged but with whom you’ll be, well, together again. But the track gets its real depth from its real-life subject, one of Jackson’s friends who died of AIDS. “Together Again” is a bittersweet celebration of the LGBTQ community in a time when many people were hesitant to celebrate or even memorialize them due to stigmas around the disease. It’s hard not to cry happy tears at the climactic key change. Or at least, I’ve never managed to hold them back.