Saturday, May 11, 2013

Quantification of Love

Can love be reduced to a number? Some songs have tried, at least, to quantify it:

Can't Get Enough of Your Love, Babe (Barry White, soul)
Heartaches by the Number (Ray Price; country)
How Deep is Your Love? (Bee Gees; disco)
Three Times a Lady (Lionel Richie and the Commodores; pop)
You're the First, the Last, My Everything (Barry White; soul)

A poem by Browning begins, "How do I love thee? Let me count the ways."

When we try to count something that goes beyond reason, we are going to have some trouble. Maybe that is why this conceit appeals: built-in tragedy.

Granted, measuring the ways in which I love you is not the same, exactly, as quantifying love itself. I don't want to be too literal here.

My wife, Ann, noticed this theme in Barry White's music. Landy Pupo-Thompson and Matt Thompson came up with the pop and disco examples.

Can you think of any more quantifying-the-unquantifiable songs? If so, please tell me.