Love Can Heal by Peter Gabriel
This song has an interesting backstory, in that Peter Gabriel has dedicated it to Jo Cox, a British MP who was “brutally murdered” at the age 41. This is someone whom Gabriel had personally interacted with in the past, and the same year that Cox was killed, in 2016, is when he began playing Love Can Heal while on his Rock Paper Scissors Tour alongside Sting.
Peter eventually included this song on I/O, his 2023 studio album, because he felt it fit into the overall theme of the project “in a way”, in that “the next evolution of being connected to things is a feeling of love for everything”.
Facts about the Song
This is a song he both wrote and produced himself and which was released as a single, through Gabriel’s Real World Records, on 31 August 2023, complete with its own cover art by British painter Antony Micallef. Micallef also spearheaded the music video to Love Can Heal, in conjunction with Aardman Animations. And to note, this track was intentionally released on the same day as an astronomical event known as a blue moon (or more specifically in this case, a Super Blue Moon).
Analyzing the Lyrics to Love Can Heal
All of the above said, it’s difficult to ascertain what exactly any of the above – i.e. the death of MP Cox or being interconnected in love or what have you – has to do with these lyrics. As far as the verses go, it appears that what Peter is encouraging, most simply interpreted, is an out-of-body experience. Or viewed from a different angle, when faced with depression, weakness or defeat, the vocalist comes off as if he has concluded that edification can still be achieved by what more realistically leads like adopting a different mentality or outlook. Or let’s say, as seems to be a recurring theme throughout I/O, by making a conscientious effort to appreciate life as the intrinsic, natural gift that it is.
Meanwhile, the chorus revolves around the simple statement that “love can heal”, and therefore we should “give into it”. Although the verses do not directly expound upon that idea, the logical implication would then be along the lines that adopting the aforenoted mind state, i.e. stepping outside of one’s self, would also entail something like being more open to giving and receiving love.
Encouraging someone to “give into” love is sort of an abstract concept in and of itself when, as is the case with this song, there aren’t any specific instructions on how to do so. But going back to the murder of Jo Cox , who was obviously killed for political reasons, combined with the storyline of these lyrics (i.e. the first verse), perhaps what Gabriel is trying to get at is something like hate or pessimism not being a viable solution to one’s problems.