It's called "love song," for one thing. It's pure unapologetic feeling that manages sentiment without sentimentality, it's probs one of the top 10 love songs ever. You can disagree with me, that's fine, I will never love you, no matter how far away, how long you stay, etc.
2. Might Tell You Tonight - Scissor Sisters
Exuberant, catchy, golden -- this song is about brand-spanking-new love, being in love with a total critter -- like, yeah! Wear your sweaters and don't get cold! I love your toothbrush by my mirror! I hope that we're together when we're old! This kid is on a bus towards a two-way street of love magic, when you're that excited to tell someone that you love them and that they should stay all your life, you're probs pretty sure they're gonna say it back. Also, the instruments, whatever they are, sound like glitter.
3. Tonight - Stars
This is like the on-again-off-again-treacherous-relationship piano ballad. It's about how people fight and throw things (I imagine a boy sitting at his window, staring mournfully at the sky, thinking video montage-style about all the times it hasn't worked and all the times it has) but maybe they could just look at each other and think "let's make it work tonight." That's a nice idea.
4. Day Too Soon - Sia
Did you guys know that Sia has a girlfriend ? I didn't. I discovered her via "Breathe Me"'s prominence in Six Feet Under and her new album, oddly drop-bombed in every Starbucks ever, is brilliantly titled "Some People Have Real Problems" and I like all her pretty sunshine songs about serious things even more now that I know she's thinking about a lady when she writes them. This one is super dreamy: "Honey I will stitch you, darling I will feel you in my heart." "You're never gonna put me down"! Aw. She's like, pick me up, perfect timing, let's fly!
5. Underwater - Tegan & Sara
This is a cynic-crumbling song, my favorite kind. It mocks itself and still yearns loudly and fully. "I would go to jail with only boys just to prove I was as tough as you"? Amazing. They even do an "oh-ohhhhh" thing on the chorus, like that's how pumped they are about "silly love songs"! Also, can't say enough about this line: "I'm a car crash but I have to get up, and every morning it's a clean-up."
6. Late at Night - Buffalo Tom
This is the song that plays during the greatest scene in television history: the last two minutes of Episode 12 ("Boiler Room") of My So-Called Life, when Jordan Catalano asks Angela if they can, like, go somewhere, and then ... well. You'll just have to watch it, and see.
7. This Will Be (An Everlasting Love) - Natalie Cole
This was the first track on a V-Day mix I got in '06, and I used to listen to it every morning to get excited enough about life to leave our apartment. It kinda works. Also, Ellen and Sharon Stone dancing in the last scene of If These Walls Could Talk 2? Seals the deal.
8. In a Manner of Speaking - Nouvelle Vague
Nouvelle Vague covers classic new wave singles, exclusively. They transform them into Brazillian poppy songs that sound like slow-dancing on tip-toes. This song is perfect, it's the musical equivalent of looking someone in the eyes or touching their fingertips with your fingertips.
9. Let's Get it On - Marvin Gaye
10. It's Good to Be In Love - Frou Frou
This song is like a trick, because it sounds so peachy and frou frouy, like "omg, it totally IS good to be in love!" But in fact, she's just pissed off that her ex is in love without her and probs about to set his house on fire. Still, though.
11. Both Hands - Ani DiFranco
Sorry, I had to. It's just that this is the 90's acoustic lesbian love song that gave birth to all future 90's acoustic lesbian love songs. Also, there was this girl we were all sort of in love with at Interlochen, and she played this at open mic and said it was one of the best songs ever and I thought "right on." It's a scene, and you can see it, and the scene is a white room and a bed that's not big enough and the whole sum of us bringing itself to bear upon some naked moment of decision if it's worth it anymore. It's like this is where we are, and now, what next. "I am writing graffiti on your body/I am drawing the story of how hard we tried/I am watching your chest rise and fall/like the tides of my life/and the rest of it all,/and your bones have been my bed frame/and your flesh has been my pillow/I am waiting for sleep/to offer up the deep/with both hands."
I dunno. It just sounds to me like a song that was written by someone who means it.
12. I Wanna Hold Your Hand - The Beatles
Dude! Sometimes I just wanna hold your hand! Yeah!
13. First Day of Your Life - Bright Eyes
This video, directed by John Cameron Mitchell, is an indulgent fruit medley of gender-flexible hipster love, and it's so earnest it goes all the way past corny and back to earnest: "I think I was blind before I met you," “this is the first day of my life/I’m glad I didn’t die before I met you /But now I don’t care I could go anywhere with you/And I’d probably be happy." It inspired me to write in my personification-of-'hoods erotica story for in the flesh: "But I love the coffee, and his small hug, how genuine he is about lying. We fuck, he cries and blogs and takes photos of my body parts in appropriately etheral shafts of light, under which he'll then lay gently upon me and make love to the part of my soul that still likes Bright Eyes." Obvs that was for Williamsburg. I mean, this is the kind of stuff that doesn't work for me in real life, but is nice to think about in theory. Like yeah, you sing softly, i sing softly, we all strum softly for weirdo love! Also the last line is: "I really think you like me" and he goes me-eee-ee-eee-ee and you're just like, aw. And then you're like, oh gross, Bright Eyes. Whatever, post-hipster, you love it.
14. On & On - Erykah Badu
This is like the sequel to "Let's Get it On." Or like, the DVD extras.
15. Always on My Mind - Pet Shop Boys
All the things we wanted to do but didn't, all the things we did when we already knew what we wanted but didn't know what to do about it, or did ... "little things I should've said and done, but I never took the time, you were always on my mind."
16. Little Wing - Jimi Hendrix
Last spring in her dark room and Maggie singing, Tara playing guitar, me playing girl-in-the-oversized chair without a musical bone to offer. Or uptown on the street during one of the only months of the year I actually enjoy -- the crisp prologue to summer -- this song. This pretty little song. It reminded me of heart flutters and while she played it, I breathed easy. I love the word "little." It's a word that means what it sounds like it means. It's that person who makes you feel fun & light but also so light that she could fly away at any moment, which is sort of okay, because she doesn't ask anything in return besides just to inspire a million smiles.
17. Wonderful Tonight - Eric Clapton
Call me a weirdo, but I have always believed with something resembling conviction that this is truly one of the best love songs ever written ever. He's totally humbled to this woman and I think he's awestruck by her beauty and the privilege he's got to be with her. I used to hear it when I was a little girl and wonder if my Dad ever felt that way about my Mom and wonder if one day someone would ever see me and feel like I was a beautiful lady walking around with them and know that if that ever happened, I'd be like the lady in the song who was too insecure to even know how loved she was and also dealt way too well with her drunkity drunk drunk husband.
18. I'm Your Man - Leonard Cohen
This scene in The L Word seems cheesy and improbable in conception and is absolutely flawless in execution. I never forgot it. Also, I can't make a love songs CD without Leonard Cohen on it, unless it's for someone who hates Leonard Cohen. And, sidenote: I don't know anyone else who's a Leonard Cohen fan really except for me, but I don't care, I don't need you guys, I can take care of myself!
19. My Love (T.I.) - Justin Timberlake
I just like the dance beat on this one. I'm not sure I'd want Timberlake's love, as he's sort of a narcissistic asshole, but if I knew how to dance, it'd be nice to dance to this song.
20. I Want You Back - The Jackson Five
Did anyone else think it was weird that Micheal Jackson sang this when he was like, 10? Like how could he have possibly not only ALREADY had a relationship, but ended it and wanted his girlfriend back? Or boyfriend, whatevs? Anyhow, I'm just into this song this week so it has to be on everything. Even though the lyrics are about fucking up and wanting somebody back, it's got the energy of "A-B-C, it's easy as 1-2-3!" 'Cause maybe it is, or something. Easy as , or not. Whatever. I wanna be a dolphin.
The original playlist is titled "autowin love songs" and had 55 songs on it. The 35 songs that failed to make the final cut include: Beautiful (Aimee Mann), When I See You Smile (Bad English), The Luckiest (Ben Folds), Forever (Ben Harper), Simple Twist of Fate (Bob Dylan), Save me from Myself (Christina Aguilera), Feel Like Makin' Love (D'Angelo), All I Ever Wanted (Depeche Mode), Here You Come Again (Dolly Parton), More Than Words (Extreme), Bohemian Rhapsody (The Fugees), I Need You Tonight (INXS), Me and Bobby McGee (Janis Joplin), Alright (Kinnie Starr), Borderline (Madonna), The Luckiest Guy on the Lower East Side (Magnetic Fields), Everything I Need (Melissa Ferrick), Signs of Love (Moby), Turn off the Light (Nelly Furtado), Happy Valentine's Day (Outkast), Maybe I'm Amazed (Paul McCartney), Wish You Were Here (Pink Floyd), Here Comes Your Man (The Pixies), Music to Fuck To (Portishead), We Danced Together (The Rakes), Baby You Got Me (The Roots), You Are the One (Shiny Toy Guns), Nothing Compares to You (Sinead O'Connor), Baby it's You (Smith), Beautiful (Snoop Doggy Dog), Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover (Sophie B. Hawkins), I Believe (Stevie Wonder), Nineteen (Tegan & Sara).
I think though really that holidays exist so bloggers have automatic topics to write about. Sooner or later, heads explode, and ideas vanish into thin air.
when we're in love,
though they wound us too sweetly,
never seriously enough.
I love the good home
cliches can find in an authentic voice.
-Stephen Dunn, "Loves"