I’ve always loved Valentines Day. Yup, it is cliché holiday that according to one of my friends, sets him up for disappointment every year. But whether I am spending it with someone I love or with a group of friends… it is always one of my favorite holidays. I love getting dressed up and any excuse for wine is a good one. In honor of Valentines Day, I’m sharing with you my all-time favorite “love” songs. And just in case you’re celebrating “Singles Awareness Day,” I’ve also included my go to heartbreak songs as well.
- “I’ve Just Seen a Face” by The Beatles – Oh man, does this song feel like what it feels like to have a crush. I think as we grow up, we sometimes forget how fun just having a crush can be. It sounds like they want to shout it from the rooftops. Listening to this song always puts a smile on my face. Freaking Sir Paul, always delivering on the adorable. There is a reason we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of The Beatles coming to America this month. This entire list could be of Beatles songs ( “Do You Want to Know A Secret?”, “When I’m Sixty-Four”, “Here, There and Everywhere” etc etc). It is hard to choose a top Beatles love song but sometimes we just need an innocent reminder of why we want relationships in the first place, the feeling this song creates for me, is that reason. I dare you, try and sing it to a girl and see what happens. Even if you butcher it, I’m pretty sure you’ll still have a nice Valentines. If she hates you for it, get rid of her.
- “Layla” by Eric Clapton – Alright Clapton is singing about another man’s woman, but sometimes that’s how love goes, right? This song captures the “desperate-nature” of love. The acoustic version and the original are both fabulous… and express the essence of “having your whole world turned upside down.” Plus, it is just a sexy song.
- “Emmylou” by The First Aid Kit – This song is just so fun to sing. And if you are a music lover, the chorus is very relatable. “I’ll be your Emmylou and I’ll be your June,” – being the woman to the music man. Also, there is a good lesson in here about being patient with love.
- “Be my Baby” by The Ronettes – The innocence of love can always be captured in a Motown song.… sometimes I wonder if I actually sang this song to someone, if it would come across as charming as it does when I belt it in my car.
- “Can’t Help Falling in Love” by Elvis Presley – Deciding a top Elvis love song is difficult. For me, it’s this song vs “All Shook Up.” Both providing ultimately very different moods. In the end, Can’t Help Falling in Love wins out because it is just so romantic sounding. Plus, sometimes you just can’t help it.
- Jolene by various – Jolene is covered by just about everyone and I recently saw a “bring you to tears” performance at the New Orleans Jazz Festival by The Little Willies. This lady loves her man so much, she begs another woman not to take him from her. Not your typical love song because it is sung to another woman…but at it’s core it is about her love for her man. Powerful stuff.
- “A Kiss to Build a Dream on” by Louis Armstrong – Almost anything Louis sings can sound like a love song. But how cute is this song? “Give me your lips for just a moment, and my imagination will make that moment live” And then there is his trumpet playing, which tends to make the heart sway. Usually everything starts with a kiss, right?
- “God Only Knows,” “Good Vibrations” and “Wouldn’t it be Nice” by The Beach Boys. These three songs are great love songs but each for very different reasons. However, they are all such strong tunes that I feel they each deserve a special mention this Valentines. “God Only Knows” is beyond beautiful; you can listen to the song without the lyrics and still feel that song. This is the type of song that you can just blast from your record player and close your eyes and let it wash over you. The other two on the list are more “up-beat” in tone and describe perfectly that feeling of finding someone and wanting to spend all your time with them. The harmonies on these songs. DAMN.
- “Your Fine Petting Duck” by Devendra Banhart – The perfect song about how we are always comparing people to others we have dated. Again, not what you would consider a typical love song, but love is about more than the “happy” feelings right? Bundled up in there is often confusion. An added bonus, Devendra breaks out in German towards the end of the song and then has a club style dance party. Depending on my mood, I’d actually classify it as a heartbreak song.
- “Runaround Sue” by Dion & The Belmonts – This actually stands as one of my favorite songs in general. This is a great break-up song because it makes breaking up sound like such a good time (She & Him always do the same thing. The catchy pop tunes make the pain seem manageable!) That bitch stole his heart and then ran around with “every guy in town.” Underneath the happy tone of this song though, there is that fair warning that sometimes you can’t trust your heart. Another Motown heartbreak song that can’t be missed is “Where Did our Love go” by The Supremes.
- “Abducted” by Cults – The age old, I love you, but you don’t love me song. The way that the sections of the song play off each other is fantastic. The lyric by Brian Oblivion, “I knew right then that I’d never love her”, always gets to me. But the great thing about this song is even though it is a very painful song that tells some truths about when you meet someone… it is played over some great indie-pop.
- ‘The Girl’ by City and Colour – Although seeing this song performed live was incredibly disappointing, it still stands as a great break-up song for me. The lyrics are beautiful. I usually start getting teary eyed during this song right at “if you were to leave, fulfill someone else’s dreams…” I can actually imagine Dallas Green writing this song after a break-up in a dark room with some whiskey.
- “I Walked” by Sufjan Stevens – Does anything feel more painful than hearing “For I’m on the floor In the room where we made it our last touch of the night?” This song haunts me. It just continuously builds slowly and each lyric pulls at my heart. Also, why can’t Stevens be my boyfriend?
- “10,000 Weight in Gold” by the Head and The Heart – This song comes off their newest album, which is all around fantastic (except the terrible “Summertime” song). “10,000 Weight in Gold” gives you everything that happens in a break-up: The reason why, what it felt like, and then the regret. Not to mention, it is so beautifully sung over some exquisite instrumentals. I’d also throw “Gone” in off this same album (Let’s Be Still) as a great break-up song as well. When the vocals come on and just repeat “I’m trying, I’m trying here” it just reminds me of the pain of trying to move on and how hard it is. You can just hear the angst in his voice.
- “There is Lonely” by Prince – If you have not had the pleasure of hearing Prince’s The Vault: Old Friends 4 Sale find a way to get your hands on a copy. This easily stands as one of my favorite Prince Albums. The title of this song says it all. Is there anything worse than being lonely? Yup, Prince will tell you about it. And if you want to cry on the floor with a bottle of wine, Prince has your back.
- “All of Me” by Billie Holiday – This song actually teeters between a love song and a break-up song. Saying perfectly what it feels like to be in love… and then to have that taken away.
- “You Oughta Know” by Atlantis Morissette- This song is absolutely ridiculous, and not because we all know she is singing about the dude from Full House (not the sexy Uncle Jessie either). I’m not saying it is a good song with any sort of musical merits, BUT she sounds so mad. I wouldn’t want to break-up with Morissette, she scares me. I have a dream of karokeing this song (mashed up with Katy Perry’s “Circle the Drain” without laughing and making the audience extremely uncomfortable. I’ll take ridicule for this song, but who hasn’t been able to relate to this line?, “It was a slap in the face how quickly I was replaced, Are you thinking of me when you fuck her?” Angry chic music that surely belongs on any break-up mix.
- “Dead Oaks” by Now,Now- This song is pure pop-song perfection in less than 1:40. And it hurts like hell to listen to. “ I know we don’t talk as much, but I can hear you still….I can hear your voice on the phone, when you’re up all alone in your room.”