Today is Valentine’s Day which can be received in one of two ways.
1. You’re single and spiteful
2. You’re in a relationship and are about to spend too much money on a fake holiday.
As someone in the former category (all those in the latter can f*ck off with your happiness), I don’t really celebrate today as anything more than an extra excuse to be hateful and judgemental (like I needed one). However, if I’ve learnt anything from my grizzled old time on the internet, it’s that seasonal posts are a GOLDMINE for views — or so I’d hope. So, in the spirit of attention-seeking, let’s have a look at my most lovely love songs.
*DISCLAIMER: While there are a good few quality tracks here, there are a couple of mushy ones here and there. But I like ’em and I don’t need to apologise to you.
15. Bonita Applebum – A Tribe Called Quest
Yeah, this ain’t gonna be your standard love songs list. Regardless, this masterpiece of alternative hip-hop rejuvenated the genre and provided one of the most feel-good tracks ever. The light beat and summery guitar and keys sample automatically boost this into my favourite hip-hop tracks, but Q-Tip’s smooth as hell delivery and carefree lyrics make this the ultimate pick-up song.
14. Maybe – N*E*R*D
Oh, this song just screams passion, from the wailingggg guitar part, courtesy of Lenny Kravitz (AREYAGUNNAGOMAAWAY), to Pharrell’s G chords on the piano. Despite this admittedly cliché tropes, the vocals on this thing, not to mention Questlove’s to DIE for drumming, do hit a soft spot for me. There seems to be an element of self-awareness to it, right down to said guitars and the harmonic backing vocals, and N*E*R*D manage to put their spin on the classic love song format.
13. Alright – Jamiroquai
Despite this being an alt rock n metal veering site, my love of 90s acid funk and jazz pop outfit Jamiroquai is surprisingly well-documented. Like many of their best track, Alright utilises the funkiest of basslines, provided this time by Stuart Zender. Jay Kay’s lighter, less completely ball-breaking singing style here compliment the summery, fluttery lyrics. What also impresses me about Alright is the instrumental depth, with a layer of guitars, bongos and even slight scratching, while also feeling light and airy.
12. Particles – Nothing But Thieves
My recent MMM has come as a result of me absolutely adoring this song right now, but its place here is surprisingly solid, thanks to it’s darker take on love. With frontman Conor Mason delving into an addiction to sleeping pills, while also pleading with his significant other and witnessing the destruction from both ends. It’s a really heavy subject matter for the song, but the instrumental majesty makes it one I go back to often. Mason’s voice is predictably incredible, pushing every lyric out with a massive sense of emotional catharsis.
11. Teardrop – Massive Attack
Undoubtedly Massive Attack’s biggest hit and, what many would call, their magnum opus, Teardrop is, like much of the group’s discography, unmatchable in style and quality. The thick, bassy instrumental is pierced through with an attention-grabbing harpsichord sample and huge-sounding piano chords. On top of it all, however, is Liz Fraser’s unmistakeably legendary guest vocal spot, delivering an excellent performance after hearing news of ex-lover and friend Jeff Buckley’s death. You can hear such grief in the track, giving the message of the song an extra weight.
10. Heroes – David Bowie
One of my, and I’m sure a lot of other people’s, favourite Bowie tracks, Heroes, inspired by the singer witnessing a love affair between producer Tony Visconti and an unknown backing vocalist, the two embracing by the Berlin wall. The song’s massive political repercussions notwithstanding (it is considered a catalyst for the fall of the Berlin wall), its story of two lovers from each side of the wall, as well as Bowie’s magical vocal performance, make this a fantastic track to listen to today.
9. Your Song – Elton John
This is that mushy shit I was telling you about earlier. Elton’s weird Elvis-esque vocals in the video above, notwithstanding, this is a world-renowned love song — this is the love song. Bernie Taupin’s poetic, idyllic lyrics here are the stuff of Valentine’s perfection, making the track. However, John’s gentle piano plucking, backed with the subtle strings and acoustic guitars, enrich the track, making it a true and timeless joy to listen.
8. As – George Michael & Mary J. Blige
Yes, I am aware that this is, in fact, a classic Stevie Wonder track, and Careless Whisper would’ve been the obvious Georgios Panayiotou choice. However, though it’s Stevie’s fantastic lyrics here that make this the love song it is, George and Mary’s outstanding vocal chemistry here just puts it above the original for me. The gospel backing vocals really inflate the chorus and add a certain level of hugeness to the instrumental, as the beat and keys become more prominent with it. Over this, George’s silky crooning, in comparison to Mary’s soulful belting, makes for pure aural bliss.
7. God Only Knows – The Beach Boys
I could’ve put literally any Beach Boys song on this list, especially any from Pet Sounds, cus they sure did like ’emselves a love song. However, this standard of the genre, right down to its refreshingly open lyrical content, takes the spot for obvious reasons. As established in any Beach Boy’s review, Brian Wilson was a master of vocals and harmonies, and this is no different. The sweeping vocal tracks, with the flying falsettos and canon arrangement, is something I’ve always appreciated, simply due to its genius.
6. Love On Top – Beyoncé
“oooh milo we trusted you and you went and put Beyoncé above Massive Attack, Tribe, Bowie and Elton” Well shut up and give it a listen boio and see….
Though yes, B is my kween, Love On Top is much more than just your run-of-the-mill pop song. The shimmering, very Dreamgirls-y production and arrangement make this a contemporary throwback to the glamourous Motown era, while also carrying a lot of modern R&B flavour, creating a perfect storm of soul and groove. Of course, Bey’s powerhouse vocals are the star of the show, with the level and quality of singing being out of this world. It’s just a song that I can’t leave without a smile.
5. Mardy Bum – Arctic Monkeys
It’s no secret that Alex Turner is one of the best songwriters to come out of the UK indie scene since Morrissey (though I think he’s overrated ngl), and it’s songs like Mardy Bum, which he wrote when he was around MY. AGE. WHAT., that prove why. Looking at the more realistic, dysfunctional, side of a relationship, Turner’s down-to-earth poetry that pervaded Whatever People Say I Am is absolutely wonderful. The sublime guitar riff and less ABSOLUTELY MENTAL drumming from Matt Helders allow this to be a breather song on the album and is no less appreciated and loved for it.
4. I Feel For You – Chaka Khan
It was only a matter of time before we had a song written by the late great Prince on this list. Aside from being the GREATEST POP SONG EVER WRITTEN, I Feel For You is the ultimate celebration of 80s shallowness, which, if we’re being honest, is the purest form of love. It may not have the suave poetry or passionate confessions found on some of the other songs on this list, but the deliciously groovy instrumentation and Chaka’s helluva voice make for just the best.
i’ve been writing this bitch for 4 hours and i wanna get it over and done with.
3. Everlong – Foo Fighters
Back when Dave Grohl’s songwriting was less “literally the same lyrics”, we were treated with some of the 90s/00s greatest alt rock songs. Topping this list for many is Everlong, the Foos’ flagship track and many people’s favourite. While I don’t necessarily agree to that, it ain’t hard to see why. The guitar riff is a stroke of repetitive genius, opening up for one of the best hooks in rock music; “ANDAHIIIIIIIIIWONDURRRRRR”. Grohl’s genuinely beautiful lyricism here is refreshing and thankfully light-hearted, especially considering what the frontman was going through at the time.
2. You’re All I Need To Get By – Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell
OHHHH yess. You thought I was gonna make it through this list without a bit of Marvin?? Well, that just ain’t the case. While there are a number of perfect Gaye/Terrell duets I could’ve picked for this list, including the classic Ain’t No Mountain High Enough, I picked this one because, bar one, more personal choice that’s taking my top spot, this is the perfect love song. The vintage and stunning Motown production, coupled with soulful vocals from both singers, make this a bout of R&B perfection. Along with this, the Ashford & Simpson lyrics, responsible for many of these duets, are classic and pure and lovely.
Before we get to my top pick, let’s take a stroll down Honourable Lane, I wonder who we’ll findddddd…..
Someone Like You – Paolo Nutini
The Way You Used To Do – Queens of the Stone Age
Lay Me Down – Sam Smith
Sweet Child O’ Mine – Guns N Roses
Malibu – Hole
May This Be Love – The Jimi Hendrix Experience
Dead Ringer For Love – Meat Loaf
All You Need Is Love – The Beatles
The Louvre – Lorde
Hey, wait where’s the Chili Peppers? Oh wait, they’re number one, again. How original…
1. I Could Die For You – Red Hot Chili Peppers
Yeah yeah, shut up. Chilis are flying in again in another predictable number one spot, but I’ve got good reasoning here. One of my favourite tracks on my favourite album of all time, I Could Die For You is the most unashamed declaration of love in a song ever. Sure, Anthony’s lyrics here could be construed as slightly cheesy or cliché, especially in RHCP canon, but I see it as the free-spirited kind of love that pervades through By The Way, part of the reason it’s my favourite album. The guitar riff as well, just oozes affection, with Frusciante employing his loose playing style. I absolutely adore this song, in all it’s beautiful, corny, lil bit funky (?), wonderful self.
What are your favourites? Careless Whisper? Get out, I don’t care. Happy Valentine’s Day, you beautiful boisangrrls.
Lots of hugs, kisses and lacerations