Whether you think Valentine’s Day is a capitalist sham (it is) or a sweet day to snuggle with your honey (it’s also that) or simply the day before all of your favorite candy becomes very inexpensive (ayyy it’s definitely also that!), it undoubtedly conjures up certain feelings and songs. We asked our team to write about their Valentine’s Day faves, regardless if they love or hate the holiday.
Abbie Doyle, Editorial Director: “Casimir Pulaski Day” by Sufjan Stevens
So soft, so sweet, so delicate and such a huge bummer. Just glancing through the lyrics of “Casimir Pulaski Day” is enough to bring me dangerously close to tears. Chronic sad man Sufjan Stevens very carefully and softly expresses the most bittersweet love between a healthy person and a terminally ill person. This is by no means a happy melody; it is full of sadness, and a quiet anger toward the deity that would allow such unfairness. The love between these persons is not convenient, or explicit–it could be platonic, but it’s probably more. This love, simultaneously infinite and attached to a very finite ending, feels brave but is completely terrifying; these totally selfless intentions of love are heart-wrenching, as is the imminent heartbreak. Almost everything stands to be lost; the literal only gain is the other person’s love–and even that is going to be taken away. If that’s not FUBAR, I don’t know what is. How often do people willingly experience such a self-sacrificing kind of love? And I have to wonder, could I ever be that brave?
Megan Fair, General Manager: “Outside With the Cuties” by Frankie Cosmos
Fewer musicians have the power to tug on my heart strings like Greta Kline of Frankie Cosmos does, so it’s only fitting that the first song that comes to mind on this saccharine day is Frankie’s new track, “Outside with the Cuties.” This song was released via Pitchfork, and the video features Kline perfoming throughout the world’s largest model railroad. It’s almost too cute for me to take, especially with Kline cooing such gentle words: “Feeling very touched / ‘Cause my friends are love.” The song is bittersweet, gentle and vulnerable, exactly how love makes you feel. I find myself tearing up as she whistles, and I long to snuggle with my peach and feed chocolate to them as we giggle about the episode of Steven Universe we’re watching. *heart eyes emoji* *blushing smile emoji*
Julia Leiby, Music Director: “Pirahna Girl” by Krill
Discovering one of your favorite bands or albums is, to me, almost as good as falling in love! In a way, it’s really the same thing. And sometimes, when you are involved with a person, specifically a person that you share a favorite band with, that band becomes more than just a band. Their music becomes an ideal, an instant head-rush, a nostalgic experience. For me, that band is Krill, a three-piece Boston-based indie rock band who broke up in September 2015. When I started seeing someone over the summer, we would yell their songs at each other and sing “Krill Forever” and listen to them a lot.
Krill’s 2012 album Alam No Hris happened to be the only tape in my friend’s car, and we would drive around and listen to it at night in the summer heat. My favorite song on that album is “Piranha Girl,” namely for the part where singer Jonah Furman says childishly “I I I I I I I I I I I LIKE you!!!” Though we are not involved anymore and Krill is over too (RIP), my feelings about this song and this band won’t change, and that’s what I’ll be listening to this Valentine’s Day.
Eli Shively, Reviews Editor: “Passenger Seat” by Death Cab For Cutie
While I can appreciate typical, straightforward love songs, I can’t really relate to them all that much. For me, love just kind of happens–it doesn’t take the form of a crush or a “Hey, I like you, do you like me too?” It’s more complex than that. That’s why I love Death Cab For Cutie’s 2003 classic Transatlanticism, and especially album highlight “Passenger Seat.” The piano swirling through the track is simple yet touching, as vulnerable as two people putting complete trust in one another, representing the earnest maturity with which we try to pursue meaningful relationships at this stage in our lives. “When you feel embarrassed, then I’ll be your pride / When you need directions, then I’ll be your guide,” sings a still bright-faced Ben Gibbard, with all the honesty and tenderness of someone realizing that they’re willing to put another person before themselves for the first time. Now that’s complexity.
Sam Tornow, Managing Editor: “Perfect Sonnet” by Bright Eyes
I was blessed with the curse of discovering Bright Eyes at a young age, and because of such, my view of love has been cynical for as long as I can recall. As an angsty teenager, I both resented and romanticized the idea of love and all that came with it. Looking back, my Chicken Little-esque appearance probably didn’t help the situation. Regardless, “Perfect Sonnet” is a song that, no matter what my relationship status is at the time, reminds me of Valentine’s day.
From the first time I heard Conor Oberst spit out the lines “I believe that lovers should be tied together / Thrown into the ocean in the worst of weather / Left there to drown,” it became my anthem; a chant which made me feel a little less alone, and more proud of the Chicken Little that I am.
Devon Hannan, Features Editor: “Moondance” by Van Morrison
“Moondance” by Van Morrison is arguably one of the most romantic songs in history. Coming from an Irish family, “Moondance” was probably played at every single wedding to which I was in attendance. I vividly remember being about eight years old and standing on my father’s feet while he swayed back and forth while belting out, “CAN I-I JUST HAVE ONE MORE MOONDANCE WITH YOU, MY-Y-Y-Y LOOOVE.” Although almost painfully traditional, memories corresponding to Morrison’s most famous serenade were very pleasant and they will uphold my standards of partnership forever.
Unfortunately, my taste in partnership over the years resembles that of a dude who thinks chain smoking to Turnstile is a “romantic endeavor.” Don’t get me wrong, Turnstile is great, but it will never compare to my life-long dream of dancing with the person I love to “Moondance.”
However, things are looking up. I recently began a relationship with a person who has repeatedly said, “I want to listen to Donovan with you.” It’s close. It’s promising. And my hopes are sky high that maybe, just maybe, this Valentines Day will be the day that my childhood dreams come true.
Daniel Marco, Blogs Editor: “Let’s Get It On” by Marvin Gaye
It’s Valentine’s Day, and you’re spending some time with your significant other. Or maybe you’re with a person you’ve been interested in for a long time and you’ve finally decided to make the move, and you want to create a romantic setting that will set the mood for the rest of the evening. Who else better to turn to than the Prince of Soul himself, Marvin Gaye, whose music is arguably responsible for 1/3 of the world’s population?
“Let’s Get It On” is the pinnacle of all his sultry songs. The music creates a calm, soothing vibe while Gaye’s screams and yelps send chills down your spine. His powerful wails of, “Tryin’ to hold back these feeling for so long,” display the passion and desire that Gaye provokes throughout the song. The lyrics also don’t beat around the bush, with lines like, “There’s nothing wrong with me lovin’ you,” and “Givin’ yourself to me can never be wrong if the love is true.”
The reason I love this song so much is that Gaye goes all out, leaving nothing to the imagination with his feelings while he drenches the song with the raw emotion of his one-of-a-kind voice. He isn’t afraid of anything, which is how all of us wish we could be in romantic situations. Gaye gifts us with his fearlessness through “Let’s Get It On,” which is why it’s my favorite Valentine’s Day song.
If I had to pick a favorite love song, it’d probably have to be “Take a Fall For Me” by James Blake, a song I’ve been obsessed with since its release in 2013. The song is filled with beautiful melodies from Blake and excellent verses from the Wu-Tang Clan’s RZA about him trying to stop his true love from getting married to another man. Blake’s use of auto-tune and repetitive lyrics all over the track make the song more emotional and lines from RZA like “Sex shapes the body / Truth shapes the mind” and “I need you like I need satisfaction” are all really thoughtful. The banging instrumentals really bring it all together to make this track a highly underrated love song.
Carly Preston, Contributor: “Love Shack” by the B-52’s
When deciding on a good Valentine’s Day song, there is no denying the importance this B-52’s classic. After long consideration (I was between “Love Shack” and Otis Redding‘s “Try a Little Tenderness”), my single butt wanted something a little more uplifting this Valentine’s Day. Frankly, I am glad I chose well, because this song is the ultimate Valentine’s Day song.
We all know the B-52’s have a knack for writing extraordinary pop songs that confuse and thrill, and the peppy-yet-punk voice of Fred Schneider causes every listener, even the most cynical, to smile. His twang and yells make every B-52’s song an adventure, but ultimately this B-52’s song won over my heart because it makes all people, single or those happily barfing up relationship tripe, feel loved. It makes them dance, shout and want to cover themselves in glitter and pink paint. We all want to go to the love shack and fall in love with love. I guess in the end, single or not, we are all just looking for a “love getaway.”
Carter Hickman, Contributor: “Here (In Your Arms)” by Hellogoodbye
When I was in the 6th grade, I used to listen to “Here (In Your Arms)” by Hellogoodbye while imagining being in high school and making out with my imaginative girlfriend. This is not a joke. I am not making this up to make this feature more interesting. When I listen to this song now, I don’t imagine making out with 16-year olds, but it still can bring back those ridiculous, pathetic, hopeless-romantic feels. Hellogoodbye created the perfect Valentine’s Day song with this one. I’m not sure if it’s the incredibly cheesy and simple lyrics, the catchy synths or the whiny autotune, but something makes me feel warm inside when listening to this song, even though I know it’s ridiculously annoying. Valentine’s Day is pretty annoying too though, so they go hand in hand.
Nick Dighero, Contributor: “Oh, It Is Love” by Hellogoodbye
There are many love songs that I have come to get the feels from so far in my life, but “Oh, It Is Love” is by far my favorite one. The lyrics are as romantic as they get, but they’re done in a non-cliché way. Instead, it is said in the most endearing manner, sung in a way of soft whispers that are high up there but not quite falsetto, and the music is there to match. The four main instruments in this beautiful song are a ukulele, mandolin, banjo and Forrest Kline’s magical voice. I mean, come on! Are they trying to make people melt?
The song finishes with Forrest saying it’s ok when he’s gone because the words in his song will still be there to “ease every fear and dry up every tear.” It then ends with a triumphant chorus, different from the softly sung choruses earlier in the song. My love and I have a special spot for this song in each other’s hearts. It brings us hope and excitement to be together in the future, and I’m sure “Oh, It Is Love” connects with many others on that same level.
Van Williams, Contributor: “Death Grip” by Turnstile
The month of February brings about a lot of bad feelings, and at the heart of this is one of America’s most commercialized holidays, Valentine’s Day. Holidays like these bring about feelings of bitterness and loneliness, and the only cure is to bang your head to one of the grooviest hardcore bands making music today. Complete with lyrics like “Tie me down while you sleep with the world, and then come back to me,” and a pre-breakdown shout of “BITCH!,” there’s no better way to put your middle finger up to Saint Valentine. This is a good riddance for the thankfully shortest month of the year.