I was raised in the 1970s on a steady diet of Neil Diamond, Simon & Garfunkel, and John Denver. I later learned that actual rock and roll and even disco were big in that era, but at my house, we were all about the singer songwriters. When I say "we," in this case, I mean my three big sisters, who were teens to my little kid. If I came home and could hear "Matthew's Song" or "Cracklin' Rose" from the street, I knew Peg was vacuuming with the record player turned up high enough to hear over the noise.
So I blame my weakness for sentimental, story-telling songs on them. Songs you can hear the lyrics clearly enough to sing along with. And while I've loved all sorts of music and musicians in the years since then, if I had to pick a favorite type, that'd be it.
In the past week or two, I've been on a big nostalgia kick in my listening, finding songs by the women singer songwriters I loved in college and just after. I realized that although the plot isn't as complete as in a book, there is a sense of character and emotion that appeals to me in the same way the best books do. These are from a different era than "Cecilia" and "Country Roads," but I know those earlier songs primed me for these.
Here's heartbreak in a song: