Elizabeth Heatwole, Contributing Writer
The month of February is dominated by a holiday that is either loved or hated: Valentine’s Day. For singles searching for love, the day serves as a reminder of love sought but unrequited. For those content in their status of singlehood, Valentine’s Day may feel liberating. And for couples, the day may present as either an excuse to express love to each other, or as a day of monetary obligation. For all, however, Feb. 14 revolves around love, an abstract equation of emotions.
To subscribe to beliefs set forth through marketing, gestures of love must be expensive, grand and purchased at a local retailer. Consumers lie at the receiving end of brand capitalism on love and in the process lose track of the emotion as an abstract entity exchanged between fellow people. To shrug off years of reinforced, capitalistic notions of love is to realize that love itself is unmarketable. Though affection is able to be demonstrated in a myriad of ways, music, in particular, presents a pure form of mental connection between those in a partnership.
Through the decades, love has held close ties with music as a pure, reciprocal means of demonstrating mutual affection. Courting dances held during the 1800s and the club scene of the 1980s share little in common in terms of style and soundtrack, but in both, music presented an opportunity to connect, whether by embracing a newfound chemistry or fostering a pre-existing love. Each generation is absorbed in the music of their era, and music continues to transcend barriers imposed on love, uniting friends and lovers. Regardless of the location, whether twirling around a grand ballroom or around one’s home kitchen, a testimony of music as the basis for countless love stories is formed. Dance and music, and the quality time they create when paired, are unparalleled by stuffed bears and boxes of chocolate that do no more than symbolize a love, unable to prove what only action can. Love isn’t a notion to be confined to a single day or to a select variety of gifts plastered with pink and red hearts, nor is it confined to romantic relationships. Love is unique in its ability to be shown through listening, understanding, inside jokes and shared experiences. It is reciprocating and bestowing the love which each person longs to feel, in whatever form is meaningful for the individuals.
Whether the chosen music is a slow ballad by Celine Dion or a powerful release of emotion, such as in the form of Journey’s “Open Arms,” love assumes different forms and tempos, matching the mood of the moment or the relationship of the couple. The key to the demonstration of love through music does not lie in the selection of songs. Instead, it lies in mutual feelings of admiration between those listening and a desire to communicate intangibilities. This Valentine’s Day, embrace the unsellable, and allow love to surpass a single day of the year. To quote Selena Gomez, a figure iconic to the music of Gen-Z, love your significant other and friends “like a love song, baby.”