Thursday, February 14, 2013

18 Lovely Love Songs We Love to Love

You know. For Valentine's Day.

Here are our offerings of our favorite of the love song genre. Not all happy, not all sappy, but all indeed involving the "L" word. Our 18 favorites, to be exact.

Why 18? Because 19 would be ridiculous.

18) “Angel Eyes”—John Hiatt: This was the first dance for my wife and me at our wedding. Such a perfect tale of the underdog winning out. - DT

17) “Black Eyed Susan”—Paul Westerberg: What says "romance" more than a guy serenading a young junkie? Weird choice, I know, but the tenderness with which Westerberg treats the girl, while never shying away from the very real problems, gets me every time. And, of course, it's a lovely recording, suffused with that very late night/early morning feel from the very first sound. — SP

16) “If I Had $1,000,000”—Barenaked Ladies: Not-so-deep down it really is a pretty simple love song, all these things one would do for the woman (or man) he/she loves. And “I’d build a treefort in our yard; you could help, it wouldn’t be that hard” is just so adorable. – DT

15) "Martha My Dear"—The Beatles: Potentially the single most misogynistic song in the rock and roll catalog becomes instead an unbelievably sweet paean to the various kinds of love when you discover that Paul was (mainly) singing to his beloved sheepdog. Silly? You bet. But also overflowing with the kind of joy that can't be faked. — SP

14) “Because the Night”—Bruce Springsteen: No one said love couldn’t be desperate. This isn’t candies and flowers love. This is using your last dime at the payphone to desperately call her and tell her what you need to tell her love. – DT

13) "Wonderful Tonight"—Eric Clapton: Sure, it's overplayed to death. So what? Get past the fact that you've heard it a few hundred times more often than you'd have liked and you find a gorgeous melody caressing some of the sweetest lyrics ever, one of those few gushy gushy love songs that's not cloying. (And not just because the song's autobiographical and he was actually annoyed by how long she was taking to get ready when he wrote it...although, yes, that makes it even better.) — SP

12) “Golden Lady”—Stevie Wonder: “You Are the Sunshine Of My Life” is better known and equally brilliant. But Stevie never wrote a more beautiful song. And just think what a mouthful that statement is. – DT

11) "Freak Scene"—Dinosaur Jr: J Mascis seems to be one of rock's great misanthropes, which ain't no small feat. And yet this ode to his long-time, vitally important yet troubled friendship with bassist/singer Lou Barlow ("Sometimes I don't thrill you, sometimes I think I'll kill you, just don't let me fuck up, will you? 'cuz when I need a friend it's still you.") stands out as one of their sweetest songs, as well as the crunchiest rock and roll on this list. — SP

10) “The Luckiest”—Ben Folds: When you know, you know. Even if you’d never met, you still somehow know. Ben and his piano deliver the goods without lapsing at all into cheesiness. – DT

9) "Oh My Love"— John Lennon: The loveliest melody Lennon ever wrote—you heard me—set against an impossibly delicate musical backdrop, with his piano and George's guitar spun together like the most fragile gossamer, all married to simple lyrics that sound like an ancient Buddhist koan. — SP

8) “You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go”—Bob Dylan: Even when everything falls apart, love remains. “I’ll see you in the skies above, in the tall grass, in the ones I love” is a stunning sentiment. - DT

7) "The Heart of the Matter"—Don Henley: ...really? Don Henley? Hey, even a blind pig and all that, and in this case he found an Italian White Alba truffle. — SP

6) “Unsatisfied”—The Replacements: Sad as hell, to be sure. But you can only write something this lost and lonely if love was once there, and once meant an awful lot to you. – DT

5) "I've Been Waiting"—Matthew Sweet: In which the Brian Wilson of the post-punk era creates a simple love song that puts its hooks into your skin from the first moment and never lets go, pristine harmonies, funny lyrics and a searing guitar solo combining to perfectly encapsulate aurally the feel of new love after a long, lonely spell. — SP

4) “Woman”—John Lennon: Maybe not his most poignant love letter to Yoko (that would be “Oh My Love”) but it's his last one, and maybe his most direct. And that matters. A lot. – DT

3) "Two for the Road"—Bruce Springsteen: When Springsteen, long-time famous loner, invites someone along for the ride, you know that ain't an offer extended lightly. That the guy who wrote "Born to Run" seemed to finally be advocating for the deep-seated need for a partner ("I didn't see it coming but, girl, now I know it takes one for the running but two for the road") actually made me reconsider my plans for life. — SP

2) “All My Loving”—The Beatles: Sweet, pop, heartfelt and perfect. The Beatles have about 60 that would qualify for this list. I choose this one. – DT

1) "God Only Knows"—The Beach Boys: Simultaneously the most romantic and the most realistic take on love from a band still generally best known for their simple songs of fun, fun, fun. "If you should ever leave me, well, life would still go on, believe me." Bwah? No, no, no. That's not how love songs are supposed to go. "The world could show nothing to me, so what good would living do me?" Ah...there 'tis. Yes. If you leave me, I'm not going to just curl up and die, victorian notions and Harlequin romances to the contrary. But I might as well, since I could never, ever be happy again. Yeah. That. That's love. — SP

1 comment:

  1. I'll toss out Michelle - The beatles and What A Good Boy, Bare Naked Ladies. I was going to suggest Accidentaly Like a Martyr, but thats more of a love gone wrong song than a classic love song.