Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Nedelle Torrisi of Paradise shares her favourite songs about long-distance love in our new feature, Audio Files. Illustrated by Martin Nicolausson
Los Angeles-based musician Nedelle Torrisi loves love. Under her solo guise, Paradise, she writes odes to romance and sheaths them in sparkly synths and jaunty guitar riffs; her latest single, “I Love Thousands Every Summer,” even features a harp, Cupid’s instrument of choice.
Here, Torrisi, who recently toured with Sufjan Stevens and whose captivating vocals are woven throughout Blood Orange’s Coastal Grooves, indulges us with a list of tunes about the charm and anguish of long-distance love—something she’s is all too familiar with thanks to a life of touring. “Back in the day, these circumstances would only occur because of war or immigration—my tours are self-imposed!” Torrisi says. “I find solace in songs like these.”
“He Needs Me” by Nina Simone
You can be far away even when you’re together. Keep that in mind.
“It’s Raining” by Irma Thomas
This song talks about memories and how life goes on in someone’s absence, but just feels emptier. Or rainier, in this case!
“Nothing Even Matters” by Lauryn Hill feat. D’Angelo
This speaks to the madness that is part and parcel of being in love. Sounds like a crisis, but it’s just a symptom of being in love.
“Boots of Spanish Leather” by Bob Dylan
This is written as a conversation between a sailor and the woman he’s leaving.
“That’s Alright” by Fleetwood Mac
Waiting is the worst—waiting for someone to return, waiting for someone to change. Sometimes you’ve got to stop waiting and just leave ’em.
“Love Letter” by R. Kelly
Keep in touch with your loved ones! It’s difficult to find time for postcards and letters, but they’re so much more effective than email.
“For All We Know” by Nat King Cole
This song goes pretty deep for a jazz standard—it questions whether life is real or just a dream. It also reminds us of the fleeting nature of life and love, because “tomorrow was made for some.”
“So Far Away” by Carole King
Carole King’s husband wrote the lyrics to a lot of her hits—it’s as if he was writing through her.
“Dearest Dear” by Davy Graham and Shirley Collins
She’s singing about the anxiousness we feel when we’re about to part with someone. Also the desire to manifest an object of love as opposed to leaving it in the abstract.
“Always on My Mind” by Sandy Denny and the Strawbs
“When we met for the first time I didn’t even like your name” is a pretty good first line—sets you up for a story. Though, in this case, the story is pretty short: “Now I find you’re always on my mind.” The end.