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What is love?

“What is love?” asked Deee-Lite on their debut album World Clique. Judging by the cover art it had something to do with various psychedelic chemicals, but that aside they didn’t provide any real answers. Haddaway asked the same question, but then he also cried “baby don’t hurt me no more“, so I’m pretty sure he doesn’t know either.

Foreigner were another band wondering what this mysterious thing could be on their epic chart-topping power ballad I Want to Know What Love Is, but again their appeal was apparently unsuccessful.

Love Is All Around, Wet Wet Wet declared confidently, The Four Aces thought Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing, and the Beatles were sure that “love is all you need“. BUT WHAT IS IT? I’ve been searching the annals of pop music (for pop is where all the answers lie, don’t you know?) to see if I can get any closer to a proper understanding and truly claim to know the answer to the eternal question: what is love?

Stevie Wonder sang Part-Time Lover, which makes me wonder if there are full-time and even unemployed lovers? Actually, I don’t want to ponder too much – I don’t need to know about self-employed lovers. Ew. The same goes for the Bee Gees with Love You Inside Out. I don’t know what that is but I’m pretty sure I’m not into it.

I’m also sure I can’t get with Leona Lewis and her Bleeding Love, although the Bellamy Brothers seemed to be cool with it – Let Your Love Flow, they said.

Donny Osmond went on about something called Puppy Love. I’d have to agree with Soft Cell, who thought that was more like Tainted Love. Hell, even Meat Loaf came out and said I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That). You sicko, Donny.

Air Supply seem rather confused by the whole thing. At one point they were claiming to be All Out Of Love, but then revealed that they were Making Love out of Nothing at All. Get with it, guys. The Beatles, meanwhile, on The End, were claiming that “…the love you take is equal to the love you make“, so maybe it’s like some sort of workshop. Indeed, Level 42 offered Lessons In Love, and according to Jennifer Lopez those lessons were free – Love Don’t Cost A Thing, she informed us. The Beatles seemingly agreed, claiming Can’t Buy Me Love.

Edison Lighthouse declared that Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes), so perhaps it’s some type of herb. More likely it’s a weed, because the Stone Roses stated that Love Spreads. Maybe it’s a smelly, stinging weed – the J. Geils Band are sure that Love Stinks and Nazareth (among others) have experience that Love Hurts. Well, don’t go trespassing through somebody’s garden then.

But then perhaps it’s a narcotic type of weed. Robert Palmer claimed to be Addicted to Love, and Diana Ross seems to have suffered a Love Hangover once in a while. Those crazy fools Roxy Music gave the game away by stating that Love Is The Drug. The Searchers, perhaps resisting the necessity of undergoing some sort of rehabilitation programme, cried Don’t Throw Your Love Away, but hopefully they found a cure eventually. The Beatles thought that if you wanted to avoid a visit from the police then You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away.

So there you have it: love is a smelly, painful, addictive drug that is all around us and is all we need, and it makes us do crazy weird things. If you believe the Blur song Tender you’ll know it’s the greatest thing that we have. But Tina Turner decided to throw a spanner in the works by asking What’s Love Got To Do With It, and now I’m wondering what it is. Thanks for that, Tina.

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