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Brian’s Top Five Valentine’s Day Songs

February 7, 2010

Hearts, romantic dinners, chocolates, two people in love . . . Valentine’s day is nearly here. Maybe you have planned a romantic evening out filled with dinner and dancing. Perhaps you’re prone to something a little more intimate. A decorated table, candle light, a home made meal. What’s missing? The background music! Nothing adds that special ambiance more than romantic music perfect for the occasion. Scour your CD collection to create that special mix tape to add a little extra L’Amour to your evening. If you’re stuck as to what would work, or even searching for a radio dedication, here are my picks for the top five songs perfect for any Valentine’s Day.

Forever and For Always – Shania Twain: Here’s a shock: Brian likes a Shania Twain song! The bigger shock is that I really like this one. Musically it’s a distant cousin to Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m On Fire,” a fast tempo with slower instrumentation. Yet, it’s the affirmative tone in Shania Twain’s voice that helps make this “growing old together” song a romantic mix tape winner. Lyrically it’s a beauty, never overly sentimental or sappy, the song is filled with everything  that one would feel after falling in love, and making that lifetime commitment to never let go because you can never live without. Girls, it’s a no brainer. Guys, if she ever came to mind while hearing this song, dedicate it to her. Now. Right away.

Something – Beatles: George Harrison’s songwriting with the Beatles was largely forgotten in place of the Lennon/McCartney team. Most of his later songs written for the Beatles wound up on his first solo release, All Things Must Pass. “Something” was his final Beatles masterpiece, written about the intangibles that draw two people together. Even though the bridge threatens to betray the verses (“You’re asking me will my love grow, I don’t know”), it’s the final lines “Something in the way she knows, And all I have to do is think of her/Something in the things she shows me/I don’t want to leave her now/You know I believe and how” that gracefully returns the song back to the mysteries of attraction. Plus it’s the Beatles, and you never go wrong with the Beatles.

Have I Told You Lately – Van Morrison: Aren’t those three words, “I love you,” almost always taken for granted? I don’t think there’s a person alive who gets tired of hearing it or saying it.  Don’t go for the syrupy version that Rod Stewart had the hit with, it’s the original sung by Van Morrison that packs the punch. Stewart went for the swoon, while Morrison’s comes off as more sincere. Lines such as, “Fill my heart with gladness, take away all my sadness, ease my troubles that’s what you do” sound as real as though he were singing it directly to his wife, Michelle Rocca. Even though it would be three years before they would even meet, I’m sure it was his vision of whom he would be singing it to that propelled this version.

Valentine’s Day – Bruce Springsteen: Any number of Springsteen songs could fit the mood, from The River’s “I Wanna Marry You” to Tunnel of Love’s “Tougher Than The Rest.” Any would be a great choice, but tops is Tunnel of Love’s “Valentine’s Day.” It’s sparse musical arrangement (a cymbal tap, a repeating bass line, and a keyboard, all played by Springsteen himself) fits his lyrics. For all of it’s simplicity, it’s one of the most visual and heartfelt love songs around, with Bruce sending his character on an overnight drive to be with his girl. Just listen to Springsteen singing the lines, “tonight I miss my girl mister, tonight I miss my home,” and “that ain’t what scares me baby, what scares me is losing you.” The emotional wallop comes at the end. His keyboard rises to a beautiful crescendo as we allow our internal camera to pull away, watching the car’s tail lights disappear into the darkness. There’s never a doubt in my mind that, at long last, he was reunited with the one he loves.

When The Stars Go Blue – Ryan Adams: Ryan Adams knows how to tug at a heart string with either a beautiful lyric or melody. One of the highlights of 2001’s “Gold,” this one has both. Even though Adams’ love songs tend to be a tad off beat, “When The Stars Go Blue” will always have a special place. It comes off as a slow dance, lyrically it’s a bit scattershot. Under most, the line “are you happy now” might come off as cynical and snarky (it sounded good coming from Bono, not as much coming from Tim McGraw). With Adams it comes off as genuine, as does the rest of the song. The song’s bridge “Where do you go when you’re lonely, I’ll follow you” and his chorus with the vocal pitch changing “blue” is what makes this lullaby the “our song” for a slightly younger generation of lovers.

Please note: We are unable to provide the Van Morrison track.

All music is provided by Mixpod.com and Youtube.com.

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