Song of the Day: Love Songs for Those No Longer Waiting

Today’s song of the day is actually 28 songs. I finally finalized my “Love Songs” playlist on February 13. I’ve been working on this for quite some time and I’m pleased with the end product. Since it is the day after Valentine’s Day and emotional expectations have either been realized or refuted, this seems like a good time to share it.

I was going to kick off the playlist with the Antlers “I Don’t Want Love” from the 2011 album Burst Apart since this song was the emotional germ for a “Love Songs” playlist, but thankfully I’ve found my emotional middle since I penned the below little ditty to a friend in the spring of 2011. The track now ends the playlist.

Love. Ugh. I can’t even think about it. Relationships are awful. Wonderful. A vacation. New-love is a drug and it is fleeting and unenriching. It is pointless. It makes everything glitter, hot and fast. Brain swelling fever. Never-ending exercise, the best sleep, intertwined in afternoon light and close up flesh colored frames. Welcomed sweat on brow and cheek and arm and clavicle. It is the daytime and the nighttime and the inability to be apart. I don’t want it.

After catching Jack White’s shattering Grammy’s performance of “Love Interruption” from the 2012 release Blunderbuss, I realized I had turned a corner. “I won’t let love disrupt, corrupt or interrupt me” is the tune in my heart now.

  1. Men In Love. This is one of my favorite songs off Gossip’s “Music For Men” and it foils nicely against the opener.
  2. Explain My Heart. Saul Williams is a champion among men and I love the dance-ability.
  3. Sick Muse. The opening line says it all. “Watch out Cupid, stuck me with a sickness, pull your little arrows out and let me live my life.” Fucking love Emily Haines.
  4. I Want You. I found this song through someone else’s Spotify playlist and almost choked when I heard the line, “If I could I’d kiss your lips so hard your entire face would bruise.” Who hasn’t felt so insane with infatuation that they wanted to pummel the object of their affection?
  5. Little Bit. Lykke Li is the delicate voice in my head every time I’m out dancing under a whiskey cloud on a dewy night. “How we move from A to B, it can’t be up to me, cause I don’t know.” Amen.
  6. Into the Wild. I realize including Gossip twice could be controversial but I will not apologize. Who hasn’t reached this fraught turning point in a relationship?
  7. Send Me Down. HAIM is the best thing that happened to me in 2012. Okay moving to Johannesburg was the greatest thing that happened in 2012, but musically they hold the award.   You know you are going to hear remixes of this song all summer long. Get ready for those horns.
  8. My Love. I can be lighthearted. It happens.
  9. Every Night is Friday Night (Without You). Rhett Miller has been writing engrossing love songs since forever and there were many to pick from the Old 97’s catalogue, but I love the bouncing drum beat and longing-soaked refrain.
  10. Invisible Touch. This is my favorite Genesis song. I long to be someone’s girl with the invisible touch.
  11. Bigger Than Love. Ben Gibbard and Aimee Mann? Yes, please. It is brighter than all the stars combined. And I do live in my memories.
  12. Eleven. This could easily have been the opening or closing track of this playlist. Everything about it is right. Thank you, Thao and Mirah.
  13. Love Interruption. This song captures where I am now after having bridged a lighthearted, romantic last few months in DC and a disorienting, island-like first few months in Joburg. This is also just a fucking beautiful song.
  14. Love Song. I don’t listen to a lot of Elton John, but this song is perfectly sincere in the way he asks “Do you know what I mean, have your eyes really seen?” This is the ultimate entreaty to a partner.
  15. Love Out Of Lust. Lykke Li knows how to write a song about love, longing, the movement of time, and placing bets. “So honey don’t feel a’fraid to dance while we’re waiting.” I’d like to live this philosophy some day very soon.
  16. Melt Your Heart. Having said that, I really appreciate Jenny Lewis for telling it how it is. “When you’re sleeping with someone who doesn’t get you, you’re gonna hate yourself in the morning.” This song is full of melancholy truths. “Are we killing time? Are we killing each other?” – the question asked before every great love dies.
  17. Maps. The palette cleanser and blast from first-year-Uni-past, “WAIT. They don’t love you like I love you.”
  18. The Calendar Hung Itself… . In 2000 Conor Oberst was inside my bones, walking with me every day. The breath catching gasps, growled lines, stalkerish tendencies innate to first love, use of “you are my sunshine…” and driving momentum make this my favorite love song.
  19.  Web In Front. I hadn’t heard of Archers of Loaf until two years ago. This song was given to me and is now deeply personal and will forever stand on it’s own as a story about a story about a thing that never happened. I wanted this version but couldn’t find a recording. 
  20. Go Home. NPR All Songs Considered and Tiny Desk Concert make my world go round. Thank you, girls of Lucius. “I don’t need you anyway. I don’t need you, go home!” How many movies have you seen where a beautiful blonde in early adolescence sends away the under-dog next door neighbor/ best friend with the words “Go Home!” all for his own good?
  21. Valentine. Any Fionna Apple song could go on this list. But I wanted something contemporary and there is something about the line, “I root for you, I love you – you you you you you you,” in the context of a love over which she is completely crippled and prisoner to that is so accurate.
  22. Limit To Your Love. I didn’t think anyone could surpass Feist’s original, but James Blake uses empty, vibrating space to great effect and suddenly the limit becomes a chasm and I’m stuck on the wrong side. Also, the video is stunning. 
  23. The Park. Obviously things have taken a turn back to the dark side half way through the playlist. I like to think that Feist is talking to me as I’m sitting on a park bench in Jeanne Mance park in Montreal. I was never actually heart broken in Montreal, but that’s where most of my park time was spent and I have certainly waited like a moron for a partner to find me.
  24. Somebody That I Used To Know. Well, this would have been the greatest break up song of 2011 if Adele hadn’t released 21, but you know, shit happens. At least Gotye and Kimbra won the Grammy for this resonant song. Adele is not on this playlist because that entire album should just be called “Love Songs.”
  25. Heartbeats. This is featured on my playlist, “It’s Time We Had The Talk” but I had to include it again because I think this is one of the best songs ever composed about how a partnership can come apart, even if you had a promise.
  26. Love More. Listen to that accordion! Has this instrument ever sounded so much like heaving lungs? Sharon Van Etten is my great musical love of this decade. “Tied to my bed, I was younger then, I had nothing to spend but time on you…” – With great distance between myself and my first love, I think this is insight about youth is exactly what makes us love more.
  27. I Don’t Want Love. I don’t like to close playlists with sad songs, as a rule, but this was the song that started it all, and so it is the song that must end it.  I think this a beautiful piece of music and it will always speak to the truth and the lie of saying, “I Don’t Want Love.”