Top 15 Love Songs
December 2019
Alex Marantz, a friend, asked "whats your favorite love song of all time?" He then went on to note that "it can also be a non traditional romantic song... like there are some awesome love songs to coffee."

I'm sure that's true, but mine are mostly about people, I think. I thought about this one for a while, but I'm happy with where it ended up. Here's the playlist link.
#15 - It Makes No Difference, The Band
it turns out that most of my love songs are just breakup songs and sad songs. no one wants to hear about pure and happy love!!!! that is boring as FUCK. this is one of my favorite songs and a memory I am NOT proud of is being sad and playing it (like, on guitar, not through headphones) a lot after a breakup :disappointed: she's married now :disappointed:
#14 - Thorn Tree in the Garden, Derek and the Dominos
Extremely cool use of Duane Allman on this song basically doing a whole separate melody just on harmonics and light slide. It is also a much better love song than Layla, even though they're about the same situation.
#13 - I Cover the Waterfront, Jack & Aviva
I Cover the Waterfront, but specifically the version that I did with someone when we were like 15ish, and I was "in love" the way you could be in love att that age - reminds me of having crushes when I was younger and I think it's a beautiful song that, if i'm going to be honest, I don't think Billie Holiday does to its fullest.
#12 - Father and Son, Yusuf Islam/Cat Stevens
my apartment when I was growing up was sorta shaped like an f, with me and my sister having the bedrooms that are across the hall from each other. when we were little and it was time to go to bed, my dad would sit in the middle between the rooms and play guitar and sing to us. this was a standby, and coincidentally, a really beautiful song about a much more strained - but still loving - father/son relationship.
#11 - Dancing on My Own, Robyn
love 2 dance to loneliness
#10 - Fruits of My Labor, Lucina Williams
i'm not sure if it'd be in an all-time top 15, but I've been listening to this song a lot recently and it it s very front of mind and quite beautiful and moving. I'm a sucker for media of the genre "I became someone else for your love, but too late in life for it to have an effect."

editor's note: it's definitely an all-time top15. This song kicks ass.
#9 - Only With You, Beach Boys
I think it's good for all of these lists to have one semi-sappy song. Extremely beautiful and perfectly bouncy and full of little riffs and intricacies that keep it interesting. Best beach boys record btw.
#8 - She is Beautiful, Andrew W.K.
it is extremely cool to remember how fun love and lust are! Andrew W.K. does not take this for granted and seems so excited to shout about how SHE IS BEAUTIFUL and I really appreciate him in that regard. I remember listening to this when it came out through a friend's sister's boyfriend and being extremely confused at music being this loud and fun. older media recommenders rule. andrew WK rules. love rules
#7 - Something to Love, Jason Isbell
I am always struck by how beautifully and hopefully Jason Isbell sings this song to his recently-born daughter, considering how difficult his life had been leading up to it. His wife is the fiddle player on this, and on a lot of his work, and she is great in her own right.

I love the way he sees the world and his place in it:

"you were born on a hot late summer day/
we turned you loose and tried to stay out of your way/
don't quite recognize the world that you call home/
just find what makes you happy girl, and do it till you're gone"

I think that's just lovely
#6 - Tunnel of Love, Bruce Springsteen
such a kickass album, such a fucking HOT era for the boss, such a killer solo, such a refreshing outro

when he says:

"when the lights go out it's just the 3 of us/
you me and all that stuff we're so scared of"

it just fuckin hit different
and then when he says

"Well, it ought to be easy ought to be simple enough/
Man meets woman and they fall in love/
But the house is haunted and the ride gets rough/
And you've got to learn to live with what you can't rise above"

gets me every time
#5 - A Case of You, Joni Mitchell
is there any list that's actually complete without Joni? Not really. there is no other voice like her in music and there likely won't be again.

"you're in my blood like holy wine/
you taste so bitter and so sweet/
I could drink a case of you, darling/
and I would still be on my feet"

is a beautifully intimate line and she makes it perfect. so is:

"i'm frightened by the devil/
and i'm drawn to those ones that ain't afraid."

the whole song, really
#4 - Goddamn Lonely Love, Drive-By Truckers
@dawong it must be a sad song day. my next ones are more positive as well. Important to keep our understandings of love in check, I think. While the positives tend to far outweigh the negatives over the course of a lifetime, it's not always the case, and even on an individual level, the lows seem to be just as memorable long-term. I think it's generally a bad thing that there's a romanticized version of a sad man drinking away heartbreak, but this song is a compelling argument for it. Jason Isbell rules and i'm so happy he's happier now
#3 - Run Away with Me, Carly Rae Jepsen
honestly, I don't think I can do better writing that the awl, so i'm just gonna quote Jia Tolentino, in her exploration of pop, love, Simone Weil, god, and art (I think my favorite or second favorite music think piece):

"And so Carly Rae’s music is tied up with an adolescent but ageless question: What’s more compelling — the falling or the love? Infatuation is an unrealized glimpse of future possible, and how you are as a person depends greatly on whether this vision supersedes, creates, or gets eclipsed by the actual possible. Carly Rae, anyway, is not interested in actual possible. She sidesteps the conundrum, and in a very particular way. The nameless, sparkling tension in her music comes from two parallel but opposite forces: Her substance regresses back to an impossible purity of emotional intention, while her form progresses towards an emotional climax that, necessarily imaginary, can never come. Carly Rae wants love; she wants nothing more than to want it — as in, she literally will not move past that point."

Seeing her do this song live – and more importantly, seeing the crowd do this song with her – was a concert highlight in my life, honestly. everyone, feeling like falling in love together! beautiful and moving.
#2 - Cover Me Up, Jason Isbell
third isbell track of the countdown! I guess you could say i've got a type.
his voice absolutely whips
#1 - This Must Be The Place, Talking Heads
Folks!!!! #1!!! You know what it is.

This must be the place, Talking Heads.

It is all the things love is - boring, beautiful, introspective, intimidating, intimate, nervous, excited, celebratory.