It’s that time of year again! Awkward-looking men shuffling down the street with a bouquet bigger than their head, screenings of 50 Shades Darker sold out across your city and your inability to get away from your housemate canoodling with their SO in the middle of your kitchen while you’re trying to make a nice dinner for your single self… Regardless of whether you’re in love or out of it, there’s nothing better on this earth than a life-affirming love song to relate wholeheartedly to/distract you from the realities of your entirely non-existent love life. Luckily for you, Epigram have selected their picks for their favourite love songs in honour of Saint Valentine.
Nick Cave, ‘Into My Arms’
Sam Mason- Jones, Music Editor
“I don’t believe in an interventionist god, but I know, darling, that you do.” So goes arguably one of the best first line in popular music, in inarguably one of the finest songs ever written. Pairing Cave’s impassioned vocal with a simple piano progression, ‘Into My Arms’ succinctly demonstrates the ability of love to bridge seemingly insurmountable gaps in belief. And when, in the track’s goose-bump-engendering crux, he growls “But I believe in love“, he makes sure that you do too.
Beirut, ‘Postcards From Italy’
Ellen Kemp, Deputy Music Editor
Painting the world in sepia sunshine, Beirut’s “Postcards from Italy,” is a song that I’d like to think would win the hearts of any who hear it. The rolling percussion is infectious, while the rich tone of the brass melodies are such that even Zach Condon’s soulful baritone can hardly improve upon their joyousness. It’s a song which is unashamedly nostalgic, evoking cherished memories of summertime and inviting you to the golden landscapes of the Mediterranean – a welcome change from the frostiness of mid-February.
Captain and Tennille, ‘Love Will Keep Us Together’
Georgia Marsh, Online Music Editor
Captain & Tennille represent the total antithesis of Ian Curtis. Toothy, optimistic and irresistibly sickly sweet, they preach the unifying powers of this mystifying force we call love, instead of its inevitable divisibility. Although Curtis and the gang provide an apt (and often more suitable) argument, this slice of 70s pop is a wholly more attractive endgame (except for Captain & Tennille, who divorced in 2014 after 39 years of marriage, so perhaps Ian, as ever, was right… God damn the pessimists.).
Elvis Presley, ‘Can’t Help Falling In Love’
Luke Unger, Music Writer
A monumental ballad that cements ‘the King’ with unequivocal respect in music history. Whilst being an obvious choice, it is undoubtedly a necessary one. Elvis’ voice seems to roll down ones spine, unloading emotion from deep sultry tones, creating a piece that echos universally understood feelings of helplessness and spellbound love. Elvis can be thanked with making all single men feel inadequate on the 14th. Cheers, Elvis…
Prince, ‘Purple Rain’
Ben Duncan-Duggal, Music Writer
Great love songs tend to be about the lyrics, and this is no different. The entire song is centred around just four lines, and those four lines are indeed good enough to carry the whole damn song: “I never wanted to be your weekend lover / I only wanted to be some kind of friend / Baby, I could never steal you from another / It’s such a shame our friendship had to end“. It’s the ultimate statement of totally selfless romance, that he’d rather see his lover happy than unhappy with him.
Hugh Masekela, ‘In the Market Place’
Stefan Rollnick, Deputy Editor
‘In the Market Place’ is from one of the first albums I ever listened to, recommended at the age of 6 from my jazz-obsessed South African father. People assume love stories have to either be blond Americans or ye-old-y British people on an estate somewhere. This track details how a guy in a rural village near where Mandela grew up picks up a woman at the vegetable stall in the Marketplace and they spend a night in her “hut” and “wake up to the roar of the lion”. I really don’t give a shit if that sounds pretentious, it’s a beautiful track by arguably South Africa’s, or even Africa’s, greatest musician.
Akua Naru, ‘Poetry: How Does It Feel Now???’
Asher Breuer Weil, Music Writer
“If love had a sound, then this would be that sound” moans Akua Naru over the impossibly seductive ‘Poetry: How Does It Feel Now???’. If ever there was a song to consummate your Valentine’s evening with, this is it. The saxophone oozes sexiness, wrapping itself around the warmth of the synths. Naru’s vocals are steamier than a sauna – “I want to make love to your existence, drenched in the colours of your energy” – the whole song drips like honey. If it doesn’t make you want to rip your clothes off, I don’t know what will.
Sex Pistols, ‘No Feelings’
Matt Baker, Music Writer
Not your conventional love song, Sex Pistols ‘No Feelings; stands as the anthem for self love. Without a Valentine’s partner, Rotten keeps his two fingers firmly to himself and facing anyone with the audacity to be a happy couple. It’s a sentiment to be treasured by all those without a Sid to their Nancy this Tuesday.
Hurts, ‘Wonderful Life’
Ed Fernyhough, Deputy Comment Editor
Melancholy pop ballad ‘Wonderful Life’ by the appropriately named Hurts conveys a solemnly stark, potentially immoral and yet somehow hopeful view of love. The duo illustrate a serendipitous encounter on a Severn Bridge between a despondent husband and father, and an infatuated Susie. The lyrical scarcity does just enough to depict their opportunistic and unbridled passion: “But there’s something in the air, they share a look in silence and everything is understood.”
Simon & Garfunkel, ‘For Emily, Wherever I May Find Her’
Joe Gorecki, Music Writer
With a lightness of touch that resonates far longer than its two-minute length, Simon & Garfunkel here use intricate imagery to convey a message of sublime beauty. Sung with a stunning clarity by Art Garfunkel, the song comes to a climax with perhaps popular music’s most devastating ‘I love you’.
Jackie Wilson, ‘Higher and Higher’
Lucy Atkinson, Music Writer
We’re not sure if this is what love actually feels like (is it? do we need to re-evaluate our relationship choices?), but just the beginning of that funky bass riff gets us onto our feet. In this song, Wilson, AKA Mr Excitement (no, not that kind of excitement, filthy reader), gives us the most positive take on love that you’ll ever find. The accelerated BPM, soaring vocals, happy trumpets, a ridiculous falsetto, inexplicably chirpy backing singers and infectious hand claps do enough to make the most cynical dumpee believe in love again. Thank you, Jackie. Thank you for making us feel like Valentine’s Day isn’t really just a bleak day in February where the only present we received was a fresh sighting of mould from our ceiling. Thank you for making us feel like we have something to offer our love interest that isn’t just chronically over-brewed tea and a habit of leaving our tooth-grinding mouth-guard on their bedside table. Thank you for making us feel like a ‘one-in-a-million-girl’. Thank you for giving us an eternal banger.
P.S. There’s nothing that embodies Valentine’s more than this suit.
Amy Winehouse, ‘Moody’s Mood For Love’
Georgia Marsh, Online Music Editor
If one were to chart the saddest character developments in music history, Amy Winehouse’s would certainly be one of the most heartbreaking. Before it all went wrong and Back to Black became a worldwide smash hit, Winehouse released Frank, her 2003 debut album, full of wit, wonder and nonchalantly romantic optimism that almost completely vanished by the time Back to Black came around. Frank drips with lovesick happiness – and this cover of Eddie Jefferson’s 1952 jazz hit epitomises this. From the opening tumble of “here I go, here I go, here I go again“, her voice trickles over the dreamy percussion and reminds us why we fell so in love with a voice, spirit and soul like hers, and why we hopelessly and willingly put ourselves through this self-inflicted anguish again, and again, and again.
What are your favourite love songs? Let us know in the comments below or via social media.