Sunday, February 15, 2009

Love Songs I Actually Like.

There's probably a reason I am blogging on Valentine's Day instead of gorging myself on gifted chocolate or putting my dozen roses in a vase, and I am pretty sure its because my intense hatred of all holiday cheer whatsoever just radiates off into the universe. So I guess I should start with baby steps and maybe someday I will be able to see the value of Valentine's Day besides those delicious candy hearts with the writing on them. I cooked dinner tonight! With wine! Okay, so it was for me and my roommate, not me and my Valentine...but hey, like I said, baby steps. So in the spirit of being more cheery and stuff, here are some love songs I actually like. Because yeah, I'm that person who makes fun of the bride and groom at weddings for picking such a sappy song for their first dance. [I went to two weddings last summer where they danced to the same Jim Brickman/Wayne Brady song about love and rainbows and sunsets and shooting stars and stuff. Come on people, that song is just bad]

1. Something - The Beatles

Early Beatles love songs are innocently charming, and surprisingly not annoying for all their googly-eyed teenaged love [Taylor Swift, take note]. But with Something George Harrison wrote a song about actual love, beyond dance halls, holding hands, and feeling fine - love that you have to stick around to see if it may show. Love is undefinable - but its something! - and uncertain - just ask George, as Pattie Boyd didn't exactly stick around even though she got this awesome song.

[How creepy are John and Yoko in their matching black cloaks, btw?]

2. Rosalita [Come Out Tonight] - Bruce Springsteen
Ah, young love. There's nothing like it. I totally asked my high school crush to prom [via AIM!!!11], he had to ask his mother if it was okay if he went, and then we didn't make out until two years later when we got drunk one ill-directed night during college and I haven't talked to him since my 21st birthday when he arrived to my party just in time to see me puke. Sigh. Rosalita is Bruce's ode to young love, though his is of course less ridiculous than mine, and there's no prom - just convincing mom and dad he's a good catch even though he "plays in a rock and roll band." But at least Bruce knows that in retrospect "We'll look back on this and it'll all seem funny." If only my seventeen year old self had known that.

[Plus, let's be honest, this video is epic. If the Jonas Brothers weren't pure they'd wish women threw themselves on them like women threw themselves on Bruce back in 1978]

3. That'll Be The Day - Buddy Holly

Considering this song contains the lines "When Cupid shot his dart/ he shot it at your heart" you'd think I'd hate this song. Maybe its the glasses, maybe its the cardigans, but do old love songs just seem better? If I heard this song for the first time spewed from a Jonas Brother, I am sure I would immediately hate it - but when it comes from Buddy its charming and sweet. Maybe its because Buddy was the original or maybe its because skinny with big ears and dorky cardigans and plastic glasses is just my type.

[Don't even tell me that bow tie isn't adorable]

4. Unchained Melody - The Righteous Brothers
This song makes for a pretty good slow dance - if you're not in 8th grade and standing 4 feet apart from each other the whole time. I slow danced to this song at my debutante ball [gah!] and the whole time my escort kept stepping on my dress and it was in those approx. 3 minutes I decided that if I get married wearing a big poufy white dress and tiara once in my life was one too many times. Short wedding dress it may be, but this song is still pretty good.

[Bonus: Your mom probably likes this song too]

5. Strange Powers - The Magnetic Fields
Considering their most famous album is called [and is also literally] 69 Love Songs, The Magnetic Fields certainly have a lot of love songs to choose from. But I'm partial to a song that ironically isn't even part of that album, even if its opening lines have a dubious political corrected-ness ["On the Ferris wheel/ looking out on Coney Island/ Under more stars than/There are prostitutes in Thailand"]. But the song redeems its self by being more disarmingly sweet ["Our hair in the air/ Our lips blue from cotton candy/ When we kiss it feels/ Like a flying saucer landing"] than you might expect when you first hear Stephin Merritt's gruff voice.

[Also, the music video includes a dude in a dress wearing fairy wings and eating cotton candy! Yay!]

6. Lola - The Kinks

Speaking of a dude in a dress, much props to Ray Davies for making me a fan of a song about transvesitite love. While Lola may seem like it should be the theme song of all those back page ads you find in "alternative" city papers, in the end its just a song about how confusing love is to anyone - gay, straight, transvestite, no matter. "Girls will be boys and boys will be girls/
It's a mixed up muddled up shook up world" sings Davies, that is except for when Lola's around. When its right, its right, even if you're "not the world's most passionate guy."

[Run Lola Run]

7. I Walk The Line - Johnny Cash
Love is hard work, y'all! [That was me trying to be country] Walk the line, keep a close watch on that heart, look out for the ties that bind or else "you'll find yourself alone when each day's through." Maybe I should take Johnny's advice and give up the drinking. This song explains alot about my life.


8. Bleeding Love - Leona Lewis
I guess I should include a song written after 1980, no? I don't know why, but I freakin' love this song, probably because its beat is hella catchy. And its surprisingly deep for being written by...Jesse McCartney?! That's what Wiki tells me and that basically blows my mind. And even though her personality may be a bit bland, Leona can for realz belt it out. [Just don't go Whitney crazy, Leona]

[As per usual, the British video is like 100x superior to the American one]

9. Signs - Bloc Party
Bloc Party just released this song on their last album so once again I am trying to stop living in the past here people. Bloc Party has always been pretty sweet but I absolutely fell in love with this song when it was featured in an episode of Gossip Girl. Is that wrong? Probably. But after you listen to the beautiful music-box like opening of this song and its simple but kinda heart-breaking lyrics, you'll understand that being wrong never felt so right.

[This is the actual, legitmately good video]

[And this the equally good acoustic version, featuring clips of Chuck and Blair! Just for fun!]

10. How Sweet It Is [To Be Loved By You] - Marvin Gaye
Oh Marvin, what song to choose?! Ain't No Mountain High Enough? Ain't Nothing Like The Real Thing? So many choices! So maybe I should choose one without Tammi Terrell! You were one smooth dude Marvin, and ain't nobody have a smooth voice like yours. Everyone in the world has covered this song it seems, and its never as good as the original - but hey, they stole it from you anyway.

[This performance is pretty smooth too, until SHINDIG! flashes across the screen]

11. In Your Eyes - Peter Gabriel
Four words: John Cusack. Boombox. Classic.

[I don't think I can say anything else - ha! I am so clever! - so just watch the video:]

12. La La Love You - The Pixies
The Pixies aren't exactly the love song type, but this song gets to point and gets to it fast. The entire song? "I love you/ I do/ I love you/ All I'm saying pretty baby/ La la love you, don't mean maybe [rinse, and repeat]." Okay fine, so the song also includes cat call whistles and some whispered talk in the background about "First base, second base, third base, home run," but if you're going to tell someone you love them in a song, this chorus isn't a bad start.

[So YouTube videos for this song were surprisingly sparse, so....slideshow?]

13. Do You Believe in Magic? - The Lovin' Spoonful

Now here's a song that isn't so much about love as it is about love songs themselves - the best kind, the kind that "start with a smile that won't wipe off your face no matter how hard you try," the kind that won't even make cynical, hard-hearted me grimace. It's true that if "it's magic, if the music is groovy/ it makes you feel happy like an old-time movie," so sometimes it best to just give in, let your feet start tapping and maybe just fall in love with the music for a little while.

[The cars! The random chicks on motorcycles! The flowers! The shaggy hair! God, I love the '60s.]

14. Possession - Sarah McLachlan
I used to stay up late listening to the radio on my Walkman just for the chance to hear this song way back in like, 1997 [And luckily for me there was a radio station in Detroit fond of playing this song, as by 1997 it was already4 years old]. Then my parents finally bought me a CD player [hey, it was 1997, I couldn't afford anything myself ] and problem solved, I could listen to Sarah's CDs whenever I liked. Way back in 7th grade I thought this song was pretty poetic, and now that more than a decade has passed and I have Masters in English, you know what? I still think its pretty dang poetic ["the sea of waking dreams" was always my favorite phrase].

[The Canadian music video! Too weird and racy for America!]

15. My Girl - The Temptations

Is there anyone who doesn't like this song?! When I was little I definitely knew the dance steps that the Temptations used to perform, thanks to an exhibit at the Henry Ford Museum. I am sure I looked like an idiot trying to pull them off, as does everyone who sings this song for their audition of American Idol. Seriously, Simon Cowell should ban this song - I watched one episode of this season of American Idol and like 30 people used it to audition. At least no one tried the dance.

[The original boy band:]

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