“It’s Only Love”: A Powerful Statement About Growing Up Gay
It is devastating. There is enough unguarded emotion in Paul Luftenegger’s latest single, “It’s Only Love,” to fuel a number of break-up ballads. However, Luftenegger’s lyrics aren’t narrating a relationship gone wrong; rather, it illustrates the absence of equality given to LGBT communities, especially concerning gay marriage. “When I was a boy/I knew I loved different than you,” Luftenegger sings, his voice nearly collapsing in sorrow. The crystalline beauty of Luftenegger’s vocals recalls the wounded vulnerability and boyish innocence of Roger Hodgson of Supertramp. The music, too, with its melodic, Beatles-esque piano echoes Supertramp’s most evocative moments. However, the tone here is quite melancholy; there is profound sadness beneath these words, a yearning for acceptance that is personal and not merely socio-political.
“It’s only love/It doesn’t hurt anyone,” goes the chorus, and with this Luftenegger summarizes the wrongness of preventing gays from marrying in a short, simple fashion. It’s a message of freedom, one of the principles that America was founded on. But Luftenegger doesn’t shuffle the issue in a liberal vs. conservative context; instead, it’s autobiographical, a direct hit from the heart. By sharing what’s inside of him instead of what’s in newspaper headlines, Luftenegger makes it universal. Gay or straight, Luftenegger has recorded the most powerful statement on growing up homosexual since Bronski Beat’s “Smalltown Boy.”