Okay, so I am a few days late for Valentine’s Day with this list, but I’ve worked nonstop since Friday, which is a good thing. I was thinking about music and what songs I would put on a Valentine’s Day mix tape. Remember those? Yes. Ok, good. Well, here’s my top 14 romantic songs of all time.
14. Closer by Nine Inch Nails (1994)
I know what you’re thinking. How can a song that contains the lyrics “I want to fuck you like an animal” possibly be romantic? Depends on what you consider romantic. He does say “you make me perfect” and “you can have my everything” at different points of the song. I admit it might not be the most romantic, which is why it’s number 14, but, I dare you to say it’s not sexy.
13. Two Can Have A Party by Tammi Terrell (1966)
The lyrics say it all and I’m a sucker for 60s doo wop music. Unlike most romantic songs it’s not a dirge. It’s upbeat and sassy. There’s nothing worse than a drawn out depressing song like “Take My Breath Away.” Yes, I consider that song depressing or maybe just shitty. Anyway, how can you not like a song that was later done with Marvin Gaye?
12. Lovesong by The Cure (1989)
This song has been covered by everyone from 3-11 to Adele, but it’s the simple lyrics and melody that do it for me. There are other Cure songs I like better, but this one is a classic and the it’s right there in the name.
11. Grenade by Bruno Mars (2010)
This might be the most relentlessly dark song on the list. A man is hopelessly in love with a woman and will do anything for her including catch a grenade, but “she won’t do the same.” This non-reciprocal love song is beautiful nevertheless and probably more realistic than most ballads. This song will always be a classic.
10. You and Me by Alice Cooper (1977)
“You and me ain’t movie stars….” but it’s enough for a working man apparently. The lyrics show blue-collar love at its finest. Everytime I hear “You and Me,” I can’t help, but think of the real man underneath the makeup.
9. To Love Somebody by the Bee Gees (1967)
Proving their style was more than just a gimmick, the Bee Gees could write some damn good ballads. This is quite the testament to love. “I live and I breathe for you.” Lyrics like that make most women melt.
8. Just The Way You Are by Bruno Mars (2010)
Speaking of making women melt, Mr. Mars makes the list again with the loveliest song about a woman’s looks since “You are so Beautiful.” It’s also realistic because it highlights a woman’s modesty when her man compliments her. I think this is one of the best love songs in the last 10 years. It’s also upbeat and fun.
7. Love Reign Over Me by The Who (1972)
I would be remiss if I didn’t highlight the passion of this song. In this case, I favor the way this song is sung and the context, over the lyrics themselves. When Roger Daltry does that scream towards the end, I believe him wholeheartedly. Also, watch Quadrophenia.
6. Love Me Tender By Elvis Presley (1956)
This song is so sweet, simple and sincere-sounding it makes you forgot how much he cheated on every woman he ever loved. It hit #1 on the billboard charts and was re-recorded many times, but the Elvis version remains timeless.
5. Je t’aime…moi non plus by Serge Gainsbourg (with Jane Birkin) (1967/69)
See also #14. While this song literally translates to I love you…me neither, one has to understand it as a conversation between two lovers while engaged in coitus. Originally recorded as a love song for then-married-Brigitte Bardot, but the sounds of her moaning on the record and lyrics like “I go and I come between your loins” probably wouldn’t have flown with her husband. That version was held back for obvious reasons. I think it’s pretty bad ass that Serge would be ballsy enough to record something like this and equally bad ass that his new girlfriend, Jane Birkin, wouldn’t mind recording a love song written for someone else. She makes the song her own solidifying her as a breathy sexpot. Gainsbourg knew how to be a provocateur with lyrics and this song was banned by the Vatican, as well as many countries. Who wouldn’t want to be the “wave” to their “naked island?”
4. Your Song by Elton John (1967)
The gift of a song is a beautiful thing. Elton John let us know we can tell everybody that this is ours. “I hope you don’t mind that I put down in words…How wonderful life is while you’re in the world.” Who would mind? Timeless, beautiful and fresh every time I hear it.
3. Wonderful Tonight by Eric Clapton (1976)
It might be one of my more obvious choices, but it’s on everyone’s list and played at weddings all over the world for a reason. Between the lyrics and the guitar riff, I can’t help but fall in love with this song over and over again. Every woman wants to be told she looks great and is a wonderful person.
2. Something by The Beatles (1969) and You Are So Beautiful by Joe Cocker (1975)
I’m cheating a little here, but You Are So Beautiful is so short, it’s hardly a full song. The sentiment makes up for its brevity and Joe Cocker’s passionate delivery has melted hearts for decades. “Something” is my favorite George Harrison scribed Beatles song. There’s something so pure about the way he loves this woman. I am complete putty when I hear it.
1. Maybe I’m Amazed by Paul McCartney/Wings (originally, 1970)
Dedicated to his wife Linda who helped him get through the horrible breakup with The Beatles. To me this is the perfect marriage of lyrics and passion in the delivery. So beautiful.
Runners up: Love of My Life by Queen, Never Tear Us Apart by Inxs, When A Man Loves a Woman by Percy Sledge, With or Without You by U2, Pictures of You by The Cure, When I Was Your Man by Bruno Mars, I’ll Stand By You by The Pretenders, Melt With You by Modern English, Wonderful by Adam Ant, Thank You by Led Zeppelin, Yellow by Coldplay and There Is No If by The Cure.