18 Songs About Hearts, Love and Valentines.

It's that time of year again. A day of tiny cards and nearly inedible candy hearts, brief messages attached to long, longing looks, dreams and romance and just plain appreciation for all the love you give and get. And yeah, Valentine's Day may be a Hallmark holiday. It may be an excuse to do something epically romantic that you could really do any and every day of the year. The dinners are expensive and lovely. The orchestra swells to crescendo and kisses are exchanged. And even if that last part doesn't happen, it can be a beautiful. Music is mostly, shit almost entirely about love, and more often than not it's about "capital L" Love. Songs express words and feelings we can't write down or speak as adequately. It's the same way that dancing is different from walking around. We bond and communicate through new mediums when we're dealing with love. And music is an ideal conduit for emotion. One far more conducive than images, or flowers or candy or crudely drawn paper hearts. Here are 18 songs that fit the bill today, for the loved, the lovers, the loving and the lovelorn. Nobody gets left out. The whole list is ready for your streaming pleasure below.

1. "Valentine's Day" - James Taylor; Never Die Young
This is one of those albums that accompanied every road trip I took with my 'rents as a child. And in Taylor's song, Valentine's Day is a mess of references. It's sweet and absurdly loving, what with fishy love, but it's also a simple and melancholy track that free associates in the way that we all sort of fall in love. It's never a plotted course from meeting to love, it's a mad wonder of chemicals, laughter and sweetness.

2. "Only Shallow" - My Bloody Valentine; Loveless
Talk about a sweeping monument to greatness! This song is all about mood. Lyrics are less than important. And it's a song about imagery, dissociation and darkness. All dressed up in powerful beauty.

3. "The St. Valentine's Day Massacre" - Starling Electric; Clouded Staircase
This album flew under the radar a couple years back, but it is an ideal neo-powerpop set loaded with anthems. On this song, it's the powerful riff, the sort of sad-anger invoked in the guitar, and the beauty of whispering vocals, wishing for greater things. "And you started guarding your stars..." is a great lyric.

4. "Dear Valentine" - Guster; Ganging Up On The Sun
I never felt the same about Guster since their great Lost And Gone Forever, but this song, with horns and frank lyrics that overflow with sad harmonies is one of the winners. And, you know, it's appropriate.

5. "The Two Sides of Monsieur Valentine" - Spoon; Gimme Fiction
Britt Daniel is a pretty exceptional lyrical poet. This song is no exception. It calls to its own mythology, riding on the idea of optimism, mixed with the idea of split identity. Every day you can be someone else, or love anew.

6. "Kick Drum Heart" - Avett Brothers; I And Love And You
Let's be straightforward here. It's about being young and free and exploring. This is love in its most playful, simple form.

7. "Come Pick Me Up" - Ryan Adams; Heartbreaker
This song is pretty much the quintessential "you done me wrong" break-up song. It's so honest, so seeping and oozing with sadness and tiny glints of hope. I have a lot of memories attached to this song, and hell, Love is about loss sometimes.

8. "I Am Trying To Break Your Heart" - Wilco; Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
Come on, this song is as epic as a song gets. And you know, it encapsulates the complex insanity that sometimes dictates Love. Somehow even games aren't games sometimes, and even winners lose for winning.

9. "Playground Love" - Air; The Virgin Suicides
This is a sweet song, driven by ideals of Love. That first time you think you like somebody, like LIKE them, that's a huge moment and it's the kind of thing that sticks in your mind forever. We always remember the firsts.

10. "Loved Despite of Great Faults" - Blonde Redhead; Melody of Certain Damaged Lemons
Sometimes we're surprised when people don't leave us. And in this caterwauling number, it's all about that sort of inspiring confusion.

11. "Lovesong" - The Cure; Disintegration
I had to. "Lovesong" is loaded with great metaphors. Love does strange things to people; beautiful things. Just look at Robert Smith's hair.

12. "I'm Leaving You Because I Don't Love You" - Jens Lekman; Night Falls Over Kortedala
Lekman succeeds in taking some truly tragic lyrics, in which all cliche of breaking up is stripped away, and still manages to make the song enjoyable.

13. "Satellite of Love" - Lou Reed; Transformer
 In his very Bowie-esque voice, Lou Reed pokes at technology, the future and wonders playfully (if snidely) about the comings and goings of a lover.

14. "The Death of Ferdinand De Saussure" - The Magnetic Fields; 69 Love Songs, Vol. 3
Probably the best song of all 69 for me. The powerful guitar and bass riffs mixed with the thoughtful, intelligent lyrics that touch on linguistics, philosophy and Motown (Holland-Dozier-Holland).

15. "This is Love" - PJ Harvey; Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea
A powerful woman capturing love as lust. It's a fucking great song. That's all.

16. "How Can I Love You If You Won't Lie Down" - Silver Jews; Tanglewood Numbers
I love the harmonies and country funk in this song. And you know, it's a good question.

17. "Your Ex-Lover Is Dead" - Stars; Set Yourself On Fire
Stars just excel at capturing the break-up moments, decanting them down to the purest form, and then showing them to you so your heart can weep along with theirs.

18. "Modern Romance" - Yeah Yeah Yeahs; Fever To Tell
I have to disagree. There is modern romance. But, this is a great way to close the list.

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