Sunday, February 13, 2011

Take My Breath Away: Love Songs

I generally prefer my music to be sad, with the occasional twist of bitter, but that doesn't mean I don't occasionally fall for a nice love song. In honor of St. Valentine's Day, below is a list of some of my favorite romantic songs.  This is not a list of the greatest love songs of all time, so don't be offended that I didn't include "Take My Breath Away" or "In Your Eyes."  Also, the author is not responsible for the repercussions of putting any of these songs on a mix tape for your lady friend.

That Teenage Feeling- Neko Case
From: Fox Confessor Brings the Flood (2006).
Find it in the catalog!

This song nicely contrasts a skeptical, but mature outlook on love with a naive, but romantic teenage one:

Now that we've met, we can only laugh at these regrets
Common as a cold, They are telephone poles
They follow each other, one after another,
After another...
But now my heart is green, like weeds
Grown to outlive the season
And nothing comforts me the same
As my brave friend who says:
"I don't care if forever never comes,
Because I'm holding out for that teenage feeling."

Slow Show- The National
From: Boxer (2007). 
Find it in the catalog!

Like any song from the National, it's hard to tell exactly what it's about.  However, there definitely some angst in this song.  I couldn't help myself though, because there is a lot of sweetness in the song too:

I want to hurry home to you
Put on a slow, dumb show for you
and crack you up
So you can put a blue ribbon around my brain
God, I'm very very frightened
I'll over do it
You know I dreamed about you
For 29 years before I saw you
You know I dreamed about you
I missed you for, for 29 years

Johnsburg, Illinois/ Shore Leave- Tom Waits
From: Swordfishtrombones (1983). 
Find it in the catalog!

This is kind of a toss up for me.  Both songs are about his wife and from the same album.  But I'm leaning more towards "Johnsburg, Illinois," because I grew up in the next town over.  And that song is definitely the coolest thing about Johnsburg. 

She's my true love 
She's all that I think of
Look here is my wallet 
That's her 
She grew up on a farm there 
There is a place on my arm
Where I've written her name
Next to mine
(from "Johnsburg, Illinois")

And I wondered how the same moon outside
Over this Chinatown fair
Could look down on Illinois
And find you there
And you know I love you, baby
And I'm so far away from home
And I miss my baby so
And I can't make it by myself
I love you so
(from "Shore Leave")

Higher Power- Jonathan Richman.
From: I, Jonathan (1992). 
Find it in the catalog!

Jonathan may have a childlike outlook on romance and well, pretty much everything else, but he's awesome and this song will give you a case of the awwws...

They say that magic and the science world collide
But Einstein saw me looking at her and he joined my side
And I knew how it would be the way she hated me
And there must be a higher power somewhere

It's magic It's magic the way we got together

It's magic It's freedom, it's fair
It's magic It's magic no not at random
And there must be a higher power somewhere

Don't Talk (Put Your Head On My Shoulder)- Beach Boys
From: Pet Sounds (1966). 
Find it in the catalog!

Pet Sounds harmonies and melodies have a vague uneasiness to them (it's the theremin!) that make the love songs that much easier for me to digest.  This song is a nice balance of sweet and bittersweet:

I can hear so much in your sighs
And i can see so much in your eyes
There are words we both could say
But don't talk, put your head on my shoulder

About You- Jesus and Mary Chain 
From: Darklands (1987).
Find it in the catalog!

Coming out of the relatively gloomy mid-80s post-punk scene (think: Cure and the Smiths), the JMC are surprisingly upbeat.  Especially on this track, which finds them getting all mushy over some girl, in a way that doesn't end badly!

People die in their living rooms
But they do not need this God almighty gloom
There's something warm about the rain
There's something warm
There's something warm
There's something warm in everything
I know there's something good
About you about you
I know there's something warm
There's something warm
Good about you

Think I'm In Love- Beck.
From: The Information (2006).
Find it in the catalog!

I love the honesty and bluntness of this song:

I really think I better get a hold of myself
Don't wanna let the night get ahead of myself
Whisperin' her love through a smoke ring smile
She doesn't know what happens when she's around

I think I'm in love
But it makes me kinda nervous to say so
I think I'm in love
But it makes me kinda nervous to say so

I Remember- Yeasayer.
From: Odd Blood (2010). 
Find it in the catalog!

If hipsters ever need a wedding song or a prom anthem, this is pretty much it.  Chris Keating wrote the song for his future wife, who temporarily cured his fear of flying:

I remember making love on a Sunday
bright golden hearts in a fresh cut grass in May
I remember making out on an airplane
Still afraid of flying, but with you I'd die today

Four Provinces- The Walkmen.
From: You and Me (2008). 
Find it in the catalog!

Musically this song has a lot of nervous energy to it, but the lyrics are oh so romantic:

Every bone in my body
Rubbed at one time or two
Every hour of the wrong day
Try to spend it with you
Every year that I’m living
Try to stick by its side
The sun goes down
The moon comes up
The sky is black and blue
Me I stand running with you

Bluish- Animal Collective.
From: Merriweather Post Pavilion (2009). 
Find it in the catalog!

This song perfectly captures the excitement of falling love:

I'm getting lost in your curls
I'm drawing pictures on your skin
So soft it twirls
I like your looks when you get mean
I know I shouldn't say so but
When you claw me like a cat, I'm beaming
I like the way you squeeze my hand
Pulling me into another dream,
A lucid dream