Katy Perry and Our Obsession With Love Songs

Radical, Different Versions of Love – Katy Perry vs. Sara Bareilles

A few months ago, critics attacked Katy Perry’ for her song “Roar”, when it was released, and sounded a lot like Sara Bareilles’ song “Brave”. The songs are similar in meaning, but also sound really similar.

The public outcry calmed down and the two music stars have come out and called a truce, but I was reminded of this debacle when I heard Katy Perry and John Mayer’s new song, “Who You Love.” After listening to the song a few times, I started thinking about the differences between Katy Perry and Sara Bareilles in the ‘love song’ department.

On-again, off-again couple, Katy Perry and John Mayer, recently released a duet called “Who You Love”, which is presumably about their relationship. This bland “love song”, talks about falling in love and not being able to choose who you fall in love with.

There are parts of the song that are kind of cutesy and somewhat truthful, as sometimes you just fall hard for someone that you weren’t really expecting. But, the overall premise is egotistical and quite boring, with regards to love.

“Who You Love” goes,

 My girl, she ain’t the one that I saw coming.

And sometimes I don’t know which way to go

And I tried to run before

But I’m not running anymore

Cause I’ve fought against it hard enough to know

That you love, who you love,

Who you love.

You love, who you love,

Who you love.

You love, who you love,

Who you love.

You love, who you love, who you love— how boring. According to Perry and Mayer, you have no choice in love, you just “love who you love.” But, love is more interesting than that, and more importantly, it’s worth more than that.

Love isn’t always easy. And sometimes it’s distinctly a choice. If you just “love who you love”, why do we have a problem when spouses cheat on one another? Or why should a husband stay with his wife after she’s been diagnosed with terminal cancer? Or why does marriage even exist, if there’s not even a hope, that it would last a lifetime?

There are moments in life, where all that’s left in love – is choosing to love.

We all want to be loved, and even more, we yearn to be loved. And we yearn to give love in return. But, love shouldn’t be some spontaneous joyride that one takes and has no control over – again, it’s better than that.

Love should be exciting and challenging. Life is exciting and challenging, so love should reflect that as well.

I want the kind of love that is gritty, and beautiful, and full of hope. I want someone to choose to love me, day-in and day-out – even on days when it would seem easier to give up. And I think this is the kind of love that most people long for.

On her new album, Sara Bareilles captures the true essence of love in her song, “I Choose You”. This powerful song goes,

There was a time when I would have believed them.

If they told me you could not come true—

Just love’s illusion.

But then you found me and everything changed.

And I believe in something again.

 My whole heart

Will be yours forever.

This is a beautiful start

To a lifelong love letter.

 Tell the world that we finally got it all right.

I choose you.

I will become yours and you will become mine.

I choose you.

Love is a life-long love letter. Some days it’s fueled with passion, other days it can feel mundane. Sometimes it’s a surprise, other times it’s a long, drawn-out journey. At times it’s beautiful, other times it’s painful. Sometimes it’s crazy, and other times it’s easy. But, above all – love is a choice.

On days when it’s beautiful and on days when it’s gritty, we have the choice to love. We can choose to love or we can choose not to. This is what makes love so mind-blowing, earth-shattering, and amazing.

I want someone to choose to love me, every day – day in and day out. And that’s the kind of love that we all want – and the kind of love we all deserve. We want the Sara Bareilles “I Choose You” kind of love, not the Perry-Mayer “Who You Love” wishy-washy kind of love.

Love is a choice – what kind of love do you choose?

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