Here We Go: Top Eight Love Songs
1. The Crystals – And Then He Kissed Me
If you get married and have kids some day, and one of the little bastards asks how you and mom/dad met, you wanna be able to tell this story. Phil Spector’s just got that magic wand he waves to turn teenage dreams into pop brilliance. That twelve-string riff that ties the song together, the castanets, that mind-blowing string section during the bridge. Damnit, the man’s got to be innocent!
2. The Flamingos – I Only Have Eyes For You
The oldies from the Doo-Wop era really hold up in the lovin’ department. I know I was born too late when I hear songs like this. This is the tune I wanted to dance to with my special lady friend at the close of school dances. Instead we were stuck with “I’ve Found a Masterpiece In You,” “If Wishes Came True,” or my favorite, “Against the wall blowing spitbubbles.” Good Lord. “You are here, and so am I/Maybe millions of people go by/But they all disappear from view/And I only have eyes for you.” Shoo-bop shoo-bop indeed.
3. REO Speedwagon – I’m Gonna Keep On Loving You
That’s right assholes. The buildup/release in this 80s gem is the living embodiment of the perfect teenage romantic moment. “When I said that I love you I meant that I’d love you forever – Bopbopbopbop baba I’m gonna KEEP ON LOVIN YOU!” That’s an inspiring moment if I ever heard one. Man, if I decide to propose to that, I have a feeling that I’m gonna be in for a world of hurt.
4. Big Star – Thirteen
Another teenage love song, but a great one. Incredible acoustic guitar throughout, and the best of the best innocence (Won’t you let me walk you home from school/Won’t you let me meet you at the poooool) and teenage-rebellion-against-daddy lyrics (Won’t you tell your dad get off my back/Tellem what we said bout “Paint it Black”). Who would’ve thought the gruff voice behind the Box Top’s “Letter” could whip this gentle nugget out. Kudos!
5. White Stripes – Dead Leaves & The Dirty Ground
I’ve always thought these were some of the best love song/poem lyrics that I’ve ever heard. “Dead leaves and the dirty ground when I know you’re not around/Shiny tops and soda pops when I hear your lips make a sound.” Their playfulness mixed with Jack White’s guitar crunch makes this the love song that James Dean would write you. And shit, wouldn’t you be all weak-kneed?
6. Broken Social Scene – Anthems For a Seventeen Year-Old Girl
Yes, here it is: the kind of new one slipped into a group of old softies. But man-O-man is this a sweet tune. Only two lines in the whole song and they carry it out all the way. Plus anything with lilting violin AND banjo makes my guts go gooey. “Stop that car/Drop that phone/Sleep on the floor/Dream about me.” Nuff said.
7. The Magnetic Fields – The Book of Love
The best proposal/wedding song ever written? Answer: Yes. Stephen Merritt is a force to be reckoned with, and here he makes you laugh and cry at the turn of a phrase. The lone (baritone?) ukulele is the perfect accompaniment too; I’ve heard many covers of this tune, and none have come close to the power of the original.
8. Iron & Wine – Naked As We Came
If you’re lucky enough to have someone in your life, it’s awful to think that one of you will be alone at some point. We’re all gonna die someday (!), but Sam Beam manages to make this grim realization a beautiful moment by sprinkling fingerpicking over it and giving it that Sunday-morning-doing-the-crossword-in-bed-with-coffee feel.