It no longer remains an argument that the best songs of love come with a solemn undertow; nothing tells a love story quite like when it comes peppered with broken heart shards. Nevertheless, February the 14th remains just what you choose to make of Saint Valentine’s Day. Some choose to revel in lovey-dovey strummings of a guitar, while the rest ponder of the wicked and nefarious attitude that comes with with lyrics-turned-musings. We got our collection of lovers themselves telling you just what you’re better off listening to as you get dizzy on all the love in the air this Valentine’s Day. Stay safe, people, and happy luvvin!
Pick: Norah Jones
The best Valentine’s Day music isn’t showy. It never demands your full attention. It isn’t too loud, and doesn’t reach 128 beats per minute, but somehow still gets your heart racing. It’s soothing and calming and slips into the background so you can be present in the moment with your lover.
Norah Jones’ tender coffeehouse music is just that, and its jazzy qualities add a hint of sensuality that harmonises in perfect sync with her raspy, almost whisper-esque voice. We all know that there’s something so comfortable about Jones’ music that makes her jazz-tinged tunes perfect for the late evening unwinding with friends. But listen to these songs more closely, and you find a more intimate side to her romantic numbers – it’s almost as if these tracks are love poems personally penned by the songstress herself especially for you, sung sotto voce to you.
And while you slowly sink into silent repose, that familiar bluesy lilt of her voice giving you an affectionate embrace, it almost feels as if, in that four-minute serenade, you are loved. Let her simple yet alluring lyrics, the soft ethereal lingering of the piano, and the delicate melodies lull you into the romantic mood, no matter your relationship status. Because feeling in love doesn’t have to be just for those in love when you can listen to Norah Jones sing her loving love songs on repeat.
Let me just get this out of the way — Valentine’s Day is pure hell, whether you’re in love or not. It’s that kind of fairytale fountainhead that causes unrealistic expectations to grow and fester, at best bringing out the good in some and at worst, bringing out the absolute worst. Rather than living in a world where crimes of passion are an actual phenomenon, I’d take carrying on in a constant stream of mellowness over the harrowing spasm that is falling in and out of love — over and over again.
That said, there’s nothing that would push your ~emotions~ further into a catatonic state than wallowing the fuck in them. And much like pressuring a bruise enough so that you cease to feel a thing, there’s nothing like having Thom Yorke’s voice cradle you as you experience the most extreme of emotions. You’re reminded that your heart’s full, but at the same time, filled up like a landfill.
I don’t think Radiohead is as depressing as they say, they’re really just the anti-Hallmark greeting, void of the roses or romantic dinners-for-two. Nothing expresses desire quite like an earnest delivery of House of Cards, while “I am a moth/ Who just wants to share your light/ I’m just an insect/ Trying to get out of the night” describes just how wretched and miserable unrequited love can make anyone feel. Whatever it is, Radiohead has a way of leaving almost anybody emotionally exhausted, mentally drained but physically, well, not quite so alone — and isn’t that what Valentine’s Day should be about anyway?
I’m usually cringing at and dismissing verses on songs about (lost) love, but there’d be certain nights when I’d hopelessly respond to them; varying from having a slight twitch, to a full mental meltdown. Feb the 14th gets quite eventful. Usual suspects include Alex Turner’s need to overshare starting to resonate, and Kevin Parker’s one-man-show that tends to kill you a little more with every listen, but Robyn showed up with Body Talk, packaged with pizzazz and perspective.
“Protect yourself cuz you’ll wreck yourself / In this cold hard world, so check yourself” off Love Kills would usually read like petty concerns, but weep empathy with the undercurrent of arpeggio bass and bleeps, reminiscent of techno-pop studs like Kraftwerk and Giorgio Moroder. Dancing On My Own, a tale of an abandoned woman watching her ex-lover kiss another girl, is so fucking good, you’ve got musicians bothering with their own covers, knowing no one’s actually going to sound half bad with lyrics like those.
The coup de grâce lingers deceptively in Call My Girlfriend. Addictive and pulsating, you’ll find yourself helplessly yet unabashedly singling along to the words. Yes, right up to “But you, just met somebody new”, which viciously stays relevant through anyone’s love life. No?