Sunday, February 13, 2005 · posted at 5:58 AM
Author's Note: Usually I renounce Valentine's Day and all it stands for, but when it's all encompassing, it's especially hard to ignore (just like Christmas!) and not succumb to the culture and tradition, even if it is personally meaningless (just like Christmas!). For example, this weekend the non-traditionalist anachronic watched the Will Smith romantic comedy Hitch and my self-proclaimed relapse queen roommate rented the British romantic comedy Love Actually. Therefore, I feel justified in writing this Lupercalia tribute.

By the way, that's right, I just put you out on blast. If I'm going down, I'm bringing the whole damn shipyard with me. Enjoy.

The Unofficial Couchbanshee Collection of Songs That Make You Go "Awwwwwww"

This week's Entertainment Weekly included a feature on "The 50 Greatest Love Songs."

Some of them I agree with:
  • Can't Help Falling in Love - Elvis Presley. It can make your heart drop though I actually prefer the Daves Son rendition or the UB40 version (that's right.. UB40, the pop-reggae band from England who sang about Red, Red Wine... as opposed to the white, white, kind. If I'm going down, I'm going all the way).

  • In Your Eyes - Peter Gabriel. Say Anything. Lloyd Dobler. John Cusack and a boombox. 'Nuf said [This song has since been used in a slew of movies and tv shows including the pilot episode of Felicity].

  • Time After Time - Cyndi Lauper. I loved this song since they used it in this cheesy scene in the show Double Trouble about redhead Sweet Valley Twins in New York (does anyone remember this show? besides my siblings)

  • Your Song - Elton John. I wonder who the muse for this song was. In my head it's Nicole Kidman's Satine for Ewan McGregor's Christian.

    I hope you don't mind
    I hope you don't mind that I put down in words
    how wonderful life is while you're in the world.

  • You're Still the One - Shania Twain. Country pop. Frightening I know, but oh so "first love" nostalgic.

Some of them leave me wondering who holds EW parent company Time Warner's pursestrings:
  • Unchained Melody - The Righteous Brothers. Okay I know it's the infamous Ghost (voted the most romantic scene in a movie by Blockbuster) pottery scene, but I can't stand this song. It's completely a personal bias because my mom used to play it over and over and over and over...

  • Crazy in Love - Beyonce. While this technically qualifies as not being a wow-you-look-hot-in-those-pants, it should be DQed for being a shake-your-ass-in-your pants song. "Call us loco, but it's the most joyful four minutes of summer lovin' in recent memory." Okay, loco! EW, you're allowed to have one "What were they thinking?" Moment a year. This is it.

  • Kiss from a Rose - Seal. This guy is fianced to Heidi Klum. You really needn't throw him any bones right now...

  • Love Will Keep Us Together - Captain and Tennille. Basically my brain refuses to have a romantic thought once I hear the words "Captain and Tennille."

So I decided to (hastily) compile my own love song list. Some of these songs may not be stand-alone great love songs, but coupled with the perfect romantic moment, they are. And sure they're not my romantic moments (rather they are those of the small and silver screen) but they are outstanding nonetheless:
  • Sarah McLachlan. Sarah is the ultimate love song writer, but not in a cheesy Diane Warren kind of way. Push (You've seen me at my weakest but you take me as I am / And when I fall you offer me a softer place to land) was written for her husband and Ice Cream was used in the Charlie Chapman rooftop scene in Felicity...

    When Felicity showed up last year, head over heels for you, Sarah McLachlan was all she listened too..If "Fumbling Towards Esctasy" wasn't in the CD player it's so "Solace" could get a bit of airplay! I started calling it "Ben Music."
              - Meghan, The Aretha Theory, Felicity

  • Coldplay. This British band debuted with the swoonworthy song Yellow* but elevated their tortured artist status with 2002's The Scientist:

    Tell me you love me
    Come back to haunt me
    Oh when I rush to the start

  • U2. No top song list of any kind can be complete without one U2 song. I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For, With or Without You, and All I Want is You* are U2's best love songs. All I Want is You edges the other two out because (1) it was featured in Reality Bites, and (2) it's the only one of the three that wasn't in Blown Away (what are those songs doing in that movie?!)

  • Comfortable - John Mayer. While the idea of John Mayer and I swimming in a deep sea of blankets is appealing, him loving my grey sweatpants, no makeup is even better.

  • She Will Be Loved - Maroon 5. I can't stand Maroon 5. Except for this song:

    I don't mind spending every day
    Out on your corner in the pouring rain
    Look for the girl with the broken smile
    Ask her if she wants to stay awhile

  • Hands Down - Dashboard Confessional. I'm referring to the So Impossible EP version, not the MTV-happy A Mark, A Mission, A Brand, A Scar one. Years after my Dashboard obsession, I can still sing every lyric. Emo boys do lovelorn best:

    My hopes are so high
    That your kiss might kill me
    So won't you kill me
    So I die happy.

  • Late At Night - Buffalo Tom. Who could forget Jordan Catalano taking Angela Chase's hand in the hallway for all to see?

    I held her hands so tight,
    'Cause words don't come out right,
    And she sees things at night.

  • Grow Old With You - Adam Sandler. Yes, this is the song that Adam Sandler sings with David Bowie as backup to Drew Barrymore in the movie The Wedding Singer.

    Oh it could be so nice, growin' old with you.
    I'll miss you, kiss you, give you my coat when you are cold
    Need you, feed you, I'll even let you hold the remote control

  • Lovesongs on the Coast. Basically the whole playlist of KOST FM, which includes the 80's greats: Chicago, Starship, Atlantic Starr, REO Speedwagon, Journey, Berlin, Police, and Foreigner. This station is basically fodder for wedding djs.

    • The #1 most requested lovesong? Always & Forever - Heatwave. This group's name is the reason djs don't announce the title and artist of a song...

      Always and forever
      Each moment with you is just like a dream to me
      That somehow came true
      And I know tomorrow will still be the same
      Cos' we've got a life of love that won't ever change

    • Additional 80's greats (tv show-based)
      • Without Us - Johnny Mathis & Deniece Williams (theme song for Family Ties).

        I bet we've been together- for a million years-,
        And I'll bet we'll be together for a million more-.
        But it's like I started dreaming
        Of the night we kissed.
        And I can't remember what I ever did before.

      • Swept Away - Christopher Cross (Mike and Kelly Hu's song on Growing Pains).

        The very first time you said my name
        I knew it would never sound the same
        Something about me is changed forever

  • The Mid 90's Slow Jams. There was a brief period of music when the top hits were all love ballads disguised as "slow jams" Hip Hopsection of your local Blockbuster Music. And you would make your boyfriend or girlfriend a mix tape of all these lovey-dovey songs by groups made up of 2-5 minority men (Jodeci, Blackstreet, Shai) with names that included a number in them (3T, All-4-One, 112, IV Xample, 4PM) and usually a "street" spelling (Ruff Endz, Az Yet, IMX - formerly Immature).

    The granddaddy of them all was Boyz II Men. Minority men? Check - 4 black guys. Numerical name? Check - "II." Street spelling? Check - BoyZ. Sex has been had because of Nathan Michael Shawn Wanya. The high incidences of STDs and pregnancies in the nineties can be attributed to this group and songs like:
    • I'll Make Love to You
    • On Bended Knee
    • Water Runs Dry
    • Thank You in Advance
    • It's So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday
    • End of the Road
    Surely all these songs are self-explanatory...

    There was also the solo R&B artist branch:

    • Brian McKnight - One, you're like a dream come true / Two, just wanna be with you / Three, girl it's plain to see / That you're the only one for me

    • Babyface - And every time I think of it / I pinch myself 'cause I don't believe it's true / That someone like you /Loves me too

    • Jon B. - Someone to love / Someone to touch / Someone to hold / Someone to know / Someone to love / Someone to trust / Someone to hold / Oh someone to know

    • Tony Rich Project - The nights are lonely / The days are so sad / And I just keep thinking about / The love that we had / And I'm missing you / And nobody knows it but me

    • Aaliyah - A special smile, a certain touch / I never had a love that I loved so much / When I look back, you're everywhere / Turn the page, you were there

  • Any song featured on a WB show. Because of the WB's new line of teen programming that premiered in 1997, countless new artists have been discovered, played and overplayed. Among the long list:

    • I'll Be - Edwin McCain. Admit it. You blasted this song 20 times a day. You failed miserably when you tried to hit the high notes. You crooned the words into a significant other's ears. Your borrowed lyrics to use on greeting cards:

      I'll be your crying shoulder
      I'll be your love suicide
      and I'll be better when I'm older
      I'll be the greatest fan of your life

      And then you about died of shock when you learned this man was behind the beauty of it all.

    • I Will Love You - Fisher. Used on Roswell, the short-lived Jack and Jill, and possibly Dawson's Creek.

    • I Shall Believe - Sheryl Crow. A network crosser. Used on Roswell, Alias and Higher Ground (I threw this in for anyone who wants to admit they watched this Family Channel drama with Joe Lando and the future Vader Hayden Christensen).

      Please say honestly
      You won't give up on me
      And I shall believe

  • Pop punk acoustic sets. Much like the rock hair bands of the 80's who would release a ballad to show their sensitive sides (More Than Words, To Be With You), today's pop punk groups go unplugged when they feel Cupid's arrow.

    • Konstantine - Something Corporate.
      This is to a girl who got into my head
      with all these pretty things she did
      Hey Baby, You know that you keep me up in bed

    • There Is - Boxcar Racer.
      Those notes you wrote me
      I´ve kept them all
      I´ve given a lot of thought of
      How to write you back this fall
      With every single letter
      In every single word
      There will be a hidden message
      About a boy that loves a girl

    • The Story So Far - New Found Glory.
      I can't remember the time or place
      or what you were wearing
      it's unclear about how we met
      all I know it was the best conversation that I've ever had

  • Somebody - Depeche Mode. And finally, and perhaps my favorite of all time... An ode to finding that special somebody to share the rest of your life with, which negates any cheesiness factor with the ending verse:

    Though things like this
    Make me sick
    In a case like this
    I'll get away with it

Did I get away with it?
* song also appeared on EW's list.

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