As you might have noticed, there are no Valentine’s articles in this section. Simply put, Valentine’s Day is a cliché – a commercial holiday created by greeting card companies to make people feel miserable for: A.) Not having a significant other, B.) Not showering their significant other with gifts or C.) Waiting too long, not making reservations and having to settle for the Shoney’s buffet for dinner Feb. 14. And yes, it’s also cliché to have a deep hatred for Valentine’s Day – deal with it. But if you find yourself making your sweetie a Valentine’s mixtape, keep in mind that everyone on the planet has already gotten down to “Let’s Stay Together” by Al Green. Here are five songs that will ensure the night’s soundtrack is solid, even if everything else goes awry.
“There is a Light that Never Goes Out” – The Smiths
Absolutely one of the best love songs ever written, sung by one of the most soulful and sensuous voices of all time, this song is pure gold on so many levels. Morrissey’s blend of bleakness and longing interspersed with bits of humor works perfectly when he sings, “And if a double-decker bus/ Crashes in to us/ To die by your side/ Is such a heavenly way to die/ And if a 10-ton truck/ Kills the both of us/ To die by your side/ Well the pleasure, the privilege is mine.” There’s nothing more romantic than a guy telling a girl he’d be happy to die in a bloody accident, so long as it’s with her.
“The Book of Love” – Magnetic Fields
What would Valentine’s Day be without Magnetic Fields? They basically created the hipster soundtrack to love with their album “69 Love Songs.” You could literally put the track list on a dartboard, throw a dart and land on a great romantic song of some sort. With a deep but warm voice reminiscent of Nick Cave, singer-songwriter Stephin Merritt belts out a tune that sounds sadder than its lyrics. In fact, the lyrics “The book of love is long and boring/ And written very long ago/ It’s full of flowers and heart-shaped boxes/ And things we’re all too young to know/ But I…I love it when you give me things/ And you…you ought to give me wedding rings/ I…I love it when you give me things” are downright optimistic. Singing this to a loved one would be pretty cool, if you were so inclined.
“Any Way That You Want Me” – Spiritualized
Originally written by Chip Taylor, (real name James Voight, actor Jon Voight’s brother) and later recorded by The Troggs and Juice Newton, among others, this is a great song about longing without being sure of reciprocation. In this version, Spiritualized comes through with what its fans would expect – drony, ambient fuzz presented in a delicate, almost lazy-sounding fashion – perfect for the subject matter. For those desperate souls unsure of what the future holds, the simplicity of “If it’s love that you want/ Baby, you got it/ From the depth of my soul/ Baby, you got it/I’ve been watching you/ Am I loving you in vain?/ Girl there’s no need to explain/ Any way that you want me/ Any way that you’ll take me” might be the way to express your love Feb. 14.
“Let’s Make Love and Listen to Death From Above” – CSS
If your Valentine’s Day plans involve some dancing or if things start getting intimate, make sure this song is on your playlist. Littered with catchy beats and blips that make it sound like “The Safety Dance” on crack, these party girls and boys from sunny Sao Paulo, Brazil ooze sexuality. So whether it’s a one-time hook-up or a romantic night with your one and only, there’s no mistaking your intentions with lyrics like “You came to show your mad love/ You came to tell it’s not enough/ Come and erase me and take me with you/ Kiss me I’m drunk don’t worry it’s true/ I wanted to show you how mad is my love/ Come and attack me it’s not gonna hurt/ Fight me, deny me if I fear when you’re close/ Let’s make love and listen to death from above.” It’s a guaranteed good time.
“Lover, You Should’ve Come Over” – Jeff Buckley
If you love sad, beautiful love songs and have about seven minutes to spare, this is one of the best. From Buckley’s one and only full-length release, “Grace” (he drowned while recording his second album, oddly enough, while singing the chorus to “Whole Lotta Love” by Led Zeppelin), this track utilizes Buckley’s almost overwhelmingly powerful voice. It’s melancholy, yet hopeful with lyrics like, “It’s never over, all my riches for her smiles when I slept so soft against her/ It’s never over, all my blood for the sweetness of her laughter/ It’s never over, she’s the tear that hangs inside my soul forever/ Well maybe I’m just too young/ To keep good love from going wrong/ Oh, lover, you should’ve come over/ ‘Cause it’s not too late,” create an amazing atmosphere for candles and a bottle of wine with your special someone.
Compiled by Jason Yurgartis.