Sure, cynics will see Valentine’s Day as largely a Hallmark holiday, full of unmet expectations and last-minute dinner reservations. But no one can denounce the power of a bona fide love song. You know, the kind that strikes the right balance of sincerity and sap.
So maybe steal one of these and drop it in an email to your dear today.
1. “Lullaby + Exile” by M. Ward
They don’t get much better than this one, folks. “A trance is a spell, with a thrill wrapped up inside it, and try and you might to fight it, love will get you in the end.” M. Ward has never sounded better.
2. “Sleepwalker” by Julie Byrne
This, a most recent discovery, is a story that describes various kinds of love that someone can experience. Byrne’s aching is palpable when she sings, “But I long for you now / Even when you just leave the room.”
3. “Boots of Spanish Leather” by Bob Dylan
Ever the master, Dylan manages to cobble a few periods of one couple’s story into this song. The first six verses capture a cross-Atlantic, back-and-forth conversation between lovers. The arc of this love song bends toward heartbreak, but we never can be certain. Does this end as a cautionary tale? Perhaps, though doesn’t most love?
4. “Everyman Needs a Companion” by Father John Misty
Oh Josh Tillman, you set aside your acerbic wit. Well, mostly. And you done good. To think that this album closer is just a track past this nugget: “You said, ‘Whip it out,’ and I started to shout, ‘I’m in love with a woman again!'” I concede, love’s palette is far more grey than black and white. I think FJM would agree.
5. “Song Beneath the Song” by Maria Taylor
The chorus does go, “It’s not a love, it’s not a love, it’s not a love song,” but I think that’s just what it is.