The internet and it’s influence have come a long way. What once was only the engine behind instant messaging on AOL—better known as AIM—and browsers (that were quite slow at the time) has blossomed into the backbone of mobile applications, iMessaging (which just might be AOL instant messaging reincarnated) and more. It has allowed infinite media creation for users and helped people find new ways to connect with others. But one thing that has not changed since the internet’s creation is it’s ability to ignite love.
To be fair, all sorts of connections spur online, friendships and professional contacts included, but the former examples lack one thing that romantic relationships have on lock: love songs.
I couldn’t imagine Trey Songz’s “Lol :-)” implying a new LinkedIn connection or Mariah Carey warning a long-distance friend they “best not (post their) flick on YouTube” in “Touch My Body”—though that may be plausible.
The idea of internet love is an interesting one. Just 27 years ago, we were limited to people in our immediate communities but today, the internet has opened up a world of new possibilities and people to connect with. More specifically, love songs focused on the internet and technology have embodied recent generations’ engagement with the tool and has proved how common romance on the internet really is. In honor of the jewels that are techie love songs, here are a few of my favorite internet love jams.
One of the obvious perks and unfortunate cons to the internet is users ability to manipulate almost anything they’d like. This usually means showcasing the best parts of yourself while hiding the worst. Catfish: The TV Show can thank this habit for their past success, but Zapp fuses real passion and temporary romance in “Computer Love.” Computer Love is the OG of techie love songs, as it was released in 1986, before the internet was widely shared with the masses at all, and way earlier than the world wide web was created.
Charlie Wilson melodically yearns for his mystery lover, claiming he’s “lookin’ for (his) computer” love while Shirley Murdock shifts from softer background singing to passionately declaring “I wanna love you baby.” I’ll save the details on debatably the best lyrics in the song: “You know I’ve been around/ From sexy mamas to cool Prima Donnas” and “I no longer need a strategy/ Thanks to modern technology.” But the gist of this song is, before most people had access to the internet, Zapp was already searching for a temporary good time. It would have been nice if he shared what website he used while searching for his digital love—for historical purposes. Certainly we should’ve known that dating websites would become popular then.
Lil’ Kim’s “Download” shows just how far technology had progressed by 2009. Versus Zapp’s “Computer Love”, Lil’ Kim’s rendition speaks less of building a connection—a romantic connection, that is. Instead she raps about websites like the infamous MySpace, then-contemporary technology like the iPhone 3GS and even having sensual conversations with “thugs” via Gmail.
“Download” isn’t nearly as renowned as “Computer Love” but I still think it’s a catchy gem we all should appreciate. Lil’ Kim had fun with it plus she blessed us with more vocals from Mr. Charlie Wilson himself.
This is by far the most emotionally-driven techie love song to make it mainstream in recent years. Erykah Badu’s heavy influence doesn’t need to be explained and D.R.A.M. is incredibly talented, with a unique voice that merges old-school soul with a contemporary, distinct sound.
Badu introduces the track with sultry vocals over intergalactic pulse-like sounds and D.R.A.M. chimes in soon after. He asks, “Do you got WiFi?” and from there the song reveals that having internet connection is only a side story to the real plot line. D.R.A.M uses wifi as a tool to connect with Badu; he wants to impress her with, what I imagine to be, photos, videos, memes and more online while Badu is looking to connect directly to D.R.A.M, sans the internet.
Aside from the storyline, “WiFi” simply sounds beautiful. Their performance on the BET Soul Train Awards was just as impressive.
We could argue about the sustainability of relationships that spur from the internet for hours—Twitter users do all the time—but I’d prefer to revel in the incredible connections that the internet has created, in addition to the amazing music it has inspired. Internet speeds are getting faster, smartphones are getting smarter and I have no doubt that internet love songs will keep getting better.