I think the B Side's punishment for my LONG absence is to assign me a Valentine's Day post. I actually really love songs about love. But, as a single girl, I'm not entirely sure how I'm going to write this without showing any shades of bitterness, so here goes . . .
When I think of Valentine's Day and love songs, I immediately think of the 80s and 90s power ballads that dominated my middle school dances. If I hear Power of Love, which to be honest I hear a lot, I'm back to the steps of my middle school cafetorium with my gaggle of girlfriends trying to sing my heart out like Celine while watching the boys who were in sports - dance with the girls who knew how to do their hair (the ability to make my hair look anything but straight and triangular has evaded me to this day).
Now, I don't mean to disrespect the song selections made by my school's custodian/deejay/Elvis impersonator, but in a very adult and cynical way, I can't listen to More Than Words, Amazed and Because You Loved Me without rolling my eyes. Don't get me wrong, when given the chance, I sing them at the top of my lungs with as much melodramatic fervor as I can muster. But now, they just seem ridiculous. I mean, I'm your lady/and you are my man/whenever you reach for me/I'll do all that I can -- well, I would certainly hope so, but I don't understand what all of the wailing is for.
While I believe that love is extremely powerful, I don't really believe that love is as grandiose as 90% of those silly pop songs lead us to believe. And God knows, there are enough of those silly love songs. My favorite love songs are simple and easy to take. They're sweet, quirky and interesting, and I'm pretty sure that those are the same qualities that I'm looking for in my own non-existent valentine. Hmmm.
So, as a Valentine's Day treat, here are the love songs that embody the idealized picture of love that I have created in my mind. I hope you enjoy it more than a stale box of conversation hearts. Happy Valentine's Day!
1. God Only Knows - The Beach Boys
I enjoy realism, so any song that includes an admission that love doesn't always last is an easy sell. What's so great about this song is that its wicked awesome composition is complemented with a simple theme. Life is better with you. Nothing is more romantic than that.
2. It Had To Be You - Harry Connick, Jr.
My favorite version of this song is not surprisingly from a soundtrack - Harry Connick, Jr. for When Harry Met Sally. This sometimes over-labored song is performed uptempo, and turns into a breezy shoulder shrugging realization about surrendering to love. There is a reason why this song is a standard - it sets the bar high.
3. Anyone Else But You - Moldy Peaches
You're so rad! I love you!
NO! YOU'RE so rad. I love YOU!
Sigh. Like every song on the Juno soundtrack, I completely ate it up. So much quirky sweetness!
4. Green Eyes - Coldplay
I love how simple and direct the lyrics of this song are. I came here with a load/and it feels so much lighter now I've met you. It's equal parts adoration and elation. When the song opens up midway through; it turns into a study of the joys of love.
5. Kathy's Song - Simon and Garfunkel
This is my all-time favorite song. Number one. No question. Every time I listen to it, I get something different out of it. Supported by a simple, but driving acoustic guitar, the lyrics are just a stream of thoughts from a lost soul. He doesn't know what to believe in, he doesn't think his songs are any good, but the only certainty he has in his life is his love. And, that's more than enough to get him through.