Why “One Day in the Universe” is the Best Modern Love Song

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Let me posit a question for you: Are love songs like rom-coms? Do you feel like a lot of romantic music is actually fairly creepy or totally unrealistic if you really listen to the lyrics? If you listen to a song like “Unfaithful” by Rihanna, do you get agitated because no one in that song is remotely likeable?

Let me tell you a little bit about myself. In the late 90s when I was still a romantically-challenged teenager, I listened to a lot of sappy pop music that spoke to me. Don’t believe me? Here’s a couple of my favorite songs from then: “Two in a Million” by S Club 7, “Back at One” by Brian McKnight, and pretty much anything by the Backstreet Boys. All of the romantic pop spoke to me about romance and love and what the world was like and I ate it up.

It was bull honkey. Looking back now, there’s not a single song that really told me what to expect from love. They were all fantasies. What young people hope love will be like – passionate, unending, dramatic… but never realistic. Was there ever really a moment in your teenage life when the story from the music connected to you on an actual, personal basis? I don’t know about you, but it never happened to me.

The fun story is, the whole reason I got into metal was because unrealistic romantic crap in pop music got so boring to me that I jumped on the first thing that offered some diversity – Iron Maiden singing songs (“The Flight of Icarus,” anyone?) that had stories to them. It was a novel concept and my world was changed.

This brings us to today and what I think is the best modern romantic song of all time. What’s “One Day in the Universe,” you may ask? It’s a song by Machinae Supremacy from their 2010 album, A View from the End of the World. If I’ve understood correctly, this is a song about a couple, probably young-ish (but not necessarily), meeting online through a World of Warcraft video game -like scenario. Why do I think this is the greatest love song of the modern age? I’m happy to tell you.

What all that romantic music has always lacked for me was a personal element. I met my first love online by accident. He lived in a city nearly 800 km away from me. For the first few months, I didn’t even know what he looked like. But we had a connection. There was freedom in the honesty you experience with a person when you don’t see their face – we connected and understood each other. It was easy to be yourself when the other person might not even exist for all you know. But when it becomes real, you start wondering what the world would be like if you got one day together to see if it’s as good as it seems…

Wait, that sounds awfully similar to just about every lyric in “One Day in the Universe.” I’m not saying everyone will get it. Having an online romance is a pretty specific thing. You’ve either had one or you haven’t, and people who haven’t might not get it. But what this song has is a real, modern-day scenario, and pure, unadulterated truth. Have a look at some of these lines:

“Flash forward to nights online and by our screens/ Far apart, connected, ten thousand miles between/ We were born into fates far from each other/ Intersected in time by tech and wanting minds/ Both alone with the image shown/ So this space turns into our own secret place…”

“Would it even be like this if we met in life/ We can’t know for sure, but what about tonight?/ Never mind tomorrow, What about this moment?”

That is the perfect description of a person (again, perhaps younger but not necessarily) experiencing something real for the first time in their life, and wondering if it’s too good to be true. Words like, “Nothing R-rated first but something happened,” and “What you do is like music to my heart, and other parts,” are beautiful in their honesty. It doesn’t gloss over the sexual aspects of youth, nor the pain or confusion in longing for someone you’re never really sure if you know or not. Do you dare to ruin it by bringing it into the real world, or is it better a fantasy left untouched?

To tell the truth, my first romance ended badly – worse than any romance since. But this song reminds me of everything good from the first years. Those nights online, staring at the screen, wishing with all our hearts that the other was beside us. Longing to see them or hold them just once. The agony of the first time we met – would we really like each other as much in person? Our first, nervous, awkward kiss, neither of us daring to make the first move. The agony of him leaving, not knowing when I’d see him again. Those were the best moments of our relationship, and this song brings it all back with a fondness you wouldn’t think I could feel for a relationship that ended that badly.

So why is this the greatest love song of today? Because it’s modern – these are real things that happen to real people; because it’s honest – it tells the truth about lust and love amongst today’s youth; and because on top of all that, it’s still full of hope. You listen and you want these two to meet and be happy. There are a lot of stories with far better endings than mine. In fact, an American and a Canadian friend of mine are married now thanks to playing Warcraft together. This is real, and it’s beautiful.

I’m not crying. Shut up.

Machinae Supremacy – One Day in the Universe
Happened face-to-face online though it took a while
Young and disconnected, just out to kill some time
Nothing R-rated first, then something happened
That defied any sense across this great divide
Something real, if only we…
But the space in between us we cannot erase

One day in the universe
What we do couldn’t make it that much worse
Our time between the words
Wishing that we were
So you tell me, and you show me your meaning
What you do is like music to my heart
And other things

Flash forward to nights online and by our screens
Far apart, connected, ten thousand miles between
We were born into fates far from each other
Intersected in time by tech and wanting minds
Both alone with the image shown,
So this space turns into our own secret place

One day in the universe
What we do couldn’t make it that much worse
Our time between the words
Wishing that we were
So you tell me, and you show me while streaming
What you do is like music to my heart
And other parts

No one ever decided on what we were
Would it make it alright if we define the words?
But why should we even care about the haters out there?
Would it even be like this if we met in life?
We can’t know for sure but what about tonight
Never mind tomorrow, what about this moment?
What are we gonna do now?

One day in the universe
What we do couldn’t make it that much worse
Our time between the words
Wishing that we were
So you tell me, and you show me your leanings
What you do is like music to my heart
Among other things

One day in the universe
What we do couldn’t make it that much worse
Our time between the words
Wishing that we were
So you tell me, and you show me while streaming
What you do is like music to my heart
Among other things

What about this moment?

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