A Love Story that never took off

Sometimes, when I’m feeling lonely, I’ll put my headphones on and listen to a secret playlist of love songs; it will always make me smile!

You know, those tunes that stay looping in your head – ‘ear worms’. Sometimes they stay in my head for weeks.

Over the years, I’ve collected those songs – the ‘ear worms’ that keep repeating on loop in my head.  They’re usually connected to a particular lover or intimate relationship, or from a certain nolstalgic time in my life.

They’re not all strictly ‘love’ songs, but all of them are pop songs, which let’s face it, are usually about love, one way or another…

It was Summer 2019 when a lover broke up with me; then I set off through the Eurotunnel, carrying a backpack, with a very tense jaw and a tender heart.

With some odd compulsion I found myself speaking to many strangers along my travels. I kept repeating this pattern; I would strike up a conversation by asking them for a love song that meant something to them, and the story that came along with it.

It was the remedy for my broken heart!  Gathering bittersweet stories from other lonely hearts and sharing my own to them. Some songs were beautiful, others cringey. But each song, however cringey, would become strangely magical, shiny and powerful when imbued with the story they gifted me alongside it. Somehow it just dropped me right into somewhere tender; it reminded me of my longing for love.

I loved it!

Some told me the first pop song they bought when they were a kid… Others told me about a club tune they played over and over during the years they first tasted freedom. Some threw me an obscure pop song they had obsessively listened to during their terrible days of unrequited love.

When I got back home from my travels, I tried to squeeze the songs and stories I’d collected into a project at a creative residency; but nothing really came out of it.

I tried to devise a performance from what I’d gathered; but nothing serious got produced.

I tried to write up the stories and anecdotes of all my conversations and encounters, but I failed because it felt too personal – and all a bit heart-wrenching.

From time to time though, I come back to this growing playlist of 70 songs (and counting!).

I still love to listen to it, dance to it, walk with it, especially when I’m feeling down. Although some of it is undeniable cheeeeeese, it’s also really quite an incredible playlist, if only because the songs secretly hold so much meaning for me. (And for all those who told them to me!)

…I always smile, because the drifting memories of meeting each one are just so so sweet.

I have finally brought myself to choose a selection of those songs from the playlist here to share

I hope you secretly enjoy it too

Love, Jan-Ming


Share your thoughts