Tonic - "If You Could Only See"
"If you could only see the way she loves me, maybe you would understand why I feel this way about our love and what I must do... If you could only see how blue her eyes can be when she says she loves me..."
I loved this song as a kid in junior high. It starts out simple with a guitar and then kicks in the bass and drums. It was music to my ears!
Candlebox - "Far Behind"
This was the ballad I heard on the radio that inspired this post.
While I was only in 3rd or 4th grade at the time this song was released, I wasn't introduced to it until I was in high school and I completely fell in love with it. Musically it's strong, lyrically, it's got one of those choruses and hooks that you can easily sing along with in the car (which I often do when this one comes on).
Guns 'N Roses - "November Rain"
Amusing story behind this one - the summer between 7th and 8th grade (summer 1997) I had an internet boyfriend. Now this back before sites like eHarmony, match.com, chemistry.com, etc were household names and if you told anyone you were dating someone online, you'd get strange looks and people would try to tell you that your relationship didn't count. But it did for me and my internet boyfriend. We'd chat online regularly through Prodigy Classic's early form of an instant messenger and on rare occasions we'd sneak phone calls to each other where he would sometimes play me songs on his guitar, including Guns and Roses. I want to say he played me part of this one too and that's how it became "our song." Eventually my parents found out I had an online boyfriend and freaked (as most parents would back then), cut communication for awhile and eventually we both moved on in life.
But I still remember this song. They lyrics are sweet and rolling in at 9 minutes long, this ballad tells a story. I also love how it's in 3 different movements: the first is soft with piano, then the 2nd is the main melody - the body of the song - where it combines all the elements such as guitars, drums, strings, etc, then the third - my favorite - you have all the same elements, but throw in some neat guitar shredding by Slash combined with the heaviness of the piano and strings and WOW! You got yourself something REALLY NEAT going on!
Bush - "Glycerine"
"Don't let the days go by..."
Ahhh Gavin Rossdale, how do I <3 thee! Gwen Stefani is one lucky lady!
This was another song I fell in love with back in junior high. This one starts out with just Gavin gently playing a guitar with some very subtle bass and then the strings chime in. What makes this song work is that it has beautiful build up to the chorus, then it quiets down, working it's way back up each time. With Gavin's vocals and the strings it gives it that rock ballad edge without going over the top or ever getting really really heavy like some rock ballads do.
The Smashing Pumpkins - "Tonight, Tonight"
I remember being fascinated by this video when I was in 6th grade and as I grew older I fell in love with this song. The neat thing about it is that musically, the entire song is one big build up to the climax near the very end of the song. With each verse and chorus it just builds and builds to that one moment when Billy Corgan asks "Believe in me, 'cuz I believe in you" and then it dies down and closes out in a matter of seconds. Genius!
Eagle Eye Cherry - "Save Tonight"
This song was a staple of my freshman year of high school. I remember handwriting out the lyrics on a piece of paper after recording it off the radio and spending some time stopping and starting the cassette to write it all down and then singing it with my friends at school. This is a great combination of music, lyrics and vocals that works so well together.
Foo Fighters - "Everlong"
"If everything could ever feel this real forever... If anything could ever be this good again... The only thing I'll ever ask of you - You've got to promise not to stop when I say when..."
First time I saw this video, I couldn't stop laughing at the guys in drag. Musically though, this is probably one of the top rock ballads of my generation.
Gin Blossoms - "Follow You Down"
Another one I loved back in 6th grade. I loved the harmonica, guitars and rhythm in this one. I also get excited when they use this one in chick flicks, usually when one of the main characters realize they're in love with the other and have to go chase them down (such as in "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days").
Van Halen - "I Can't Stop Loving You"
While Van Halen has had several lead singers over their career, I'm going to go out on a limb here and say I didn't mind the Van Hagar years. While the band wasn't as heavy with Hagar as it was with Roth, they did produce some pretty powerful powerhouse songs, such as this one and "Right Now." Sure it's different, but this was a great ballad for them!
Bon Jovi - "Always"
I remember being in grade school when I first saw this video at my friend's house and WOW! Talk about some heavy stuff going on here - I loved it!
Aerosmith - "Cryin'"
Spacehog - "In the Meanwhile"
Honorable mentions that fall more along the lines of being 90s pop/rock love songs
Sister Hazel - "All For You"
Deep Blue Something - "Breakfast at Tiffany's"
Spin Doctors - "Two Princes"