5 Of The World’s Best Love Songs: Taylor Kent
Ah, February. The bleak mid-winter, full of cloudy skies, icy cold fingers, runny noses, and – usually – the inexplicable longing for … something, anything really. Cue Valentine’s Day, perfectly positioned in the calendar when, rather unfortunately, we’re both the most bored and the most vulnerable.
Taylor kent & Jevon Daly
Love it or hate it, February is the month of love. And what better way to celebrate (i.e., impress your object of affection) than with a perfectly crafted love song? Now, there are many ways this could go wrong. The modern-day world contains an embarrassing sum of really bad songs, so we must tread carefully.
For those who may be in need, I’ve compiled a list of five of my favorite love songs to ever exist. And luckily, I happen to have excellent taste. 😉
“God Only Knows,” written by Brian Wilson and Tony Asher, sung by The Beach Boys. Thirty years ago, this was my parents’ wedding song, so admittedly I might hold a slight bias. Some of my earliest, most precious childhood memories come from riding around in my dad’s old truck listening to “God Only Knows.” Even as a kid, I could tell it was special. A song like that, and a composer like Brian Wilson, only comes around once in a lifetime. To me, “God Only Knows” sounds equally as comforting as it does beautiful. Sir Paul McCartney himself described it as “the greatest song ever written.” That alone is enough to earn a spot at the top of my list.
“Just the Way You Are,” written and sung by Billy Joel. From the start I knew that I had to mention a Billy Joel song; it was only a matter of which one. A tough decision, but in the end all signs led me to “Just the Way You Are.” The boldness and simplicity of the song’s message is unmatched. Initially, Joel was not a fan of the track, and had no plans to include it in his record The Stranger until Linda Ronstadt (my idol!) convinced him otherwise. In 1979, the song earned two Grammy Awards, for Record of the Year and Song of the Year.
“Something,” written by George Harrison, sung by the Beatles. A well-deserved hit for George Harrison, the melody for “Something” came so quickly and easily to him that, at first, he feared it was from another song already in existence. The primary inspiration came from the title of James Taylor’s “Something in the Way She Moves.” Eager to prove himself as a songwriter, Harrison must have been proud that the track was his first taste of individual success. It was also the first song for the band to reach No. 1 that wasn’t suffixed with “written by Lennon-McCartney.” “Something” even earned the praise of Frank Sinatra, who was very public about his disapproval of the Beatles. The song has been described as ambiguous, evoking, and deeply longing.
“When You Say Nothing at All,” written by Paul Overstreet and Don Schlitz, sung by Alison Krauss. This country song was written in 1988 and has been released by multiple artists across the world but, in my opinion, each version pales to that of the bluegrass group Alison Krauss and Union Station. Krauss’s smooth, buttery voice matches perfectly with the sweetness of the song. No matter how many times I’ve heard it, it still gives me goosebumps.
“Crazy Love,” written and sung by Van Morrison. I originally pondered whether or not to involve this song – at the risk of sounding cliche (a complete and utter nightmare for me). But, if something is widely popular, there’s usually – USUALLY! – a good reason. Such is the case with this track from Morrison’s Moondance album. Based on its lyrics alone, I felt as if I had no choice. Typically, my favorite kind of songs are made when music and poetry truly merge. From the very first line, “Crazy Love” is undoubtedly poetic. The song possesses a gentleness in the tone that urges listeners to just slow down and appreciate, which is an important lesson in music as well as love.
5 Of The World’s Worst Love Songs: Jevon Daly
I woke up this morning with an upset stomach and this article on my mind. I began to ponder the task at hand. What are my top five “worst” songs written about love? One thing I want you, the reader, to know is I find a lot of things in art so bad they’re good. So, buckle your phone to your face and join me. I may even try to call Celine Dion on Skype.
“More Than Words” is a great song. But it’s also one that makes people groan when they hear those first few guitar tinklings. If you have seen the Jack Black and Jimmy Fallon remake, you know this is “good and terrible,” to quote Eddie Murphy. Their version got 35 million views on YouTube; the original Extreme video got 724 million views. This makes the song legendary, right? Makes it great? Not really. Why isn’t this song played on every deck on Hilton Head Island in the summer? Because it’s cheesy. The lyrics are kinda silly, but to me this is one of the best songs to come out of the 1980s that so many cringe at. If you love this song, post a video of you singing it and send it to us.
“Love Stinks” is another fave of mine to turn off. I was living up north and was a big fan of “Freeze Frame” by The J. Geils Band. When “Love Stinks” came out, I definitely thought it was trash. But I like the ’80s and I feel like saying that any song is bad sounds crazy. (Maybe this article stinks.) This tune is full of cheap keyboard sounds and funny, playful lyrics; the video is super dorky. Love can definitely stink but love can also smell like azaleas, so there’s that.
“Girl You Know It’s True.” I love Milli Vanilli. I love the writer of the songs and the actual singers on the song, too. Maybe playing music for a living has skewed my reality a bit. Maybe I’ve kind of lost touch with what a good, heartfelt love song sounds like. OK, this list has turned into songs I love. Fine. But I do also know that some of you don’t like the twins in Milli Vanilli. The hair and sweet outfits really made me laugh back in the day. Jumping into each other, colliding chest to chest? What? Love. Most of the songs are kind of silly, but so are puppies and we all love puppies. Milli Vanilli are the “puppy dog eyes” of the music biz and I want more.
“Love Hurts.” It’s bad but, again, it’s good. The version many of us have heard is of Michael Bolton belting out the lyrics. Almost yelling. OK, he’s yelling the lyrics. It’s half Axl Rose, half Mozzarella. May I suggest you go find the Gram Parsons version with Emmylou Harris. OK, it’s happening – I’m turning into my dad (Hey, Dad!). This is really hard to write. I’m having a great time over here, listening to ballads on a Thursday with my scarf on.
“I Need Love.” Let’s wrap this with some LL. I guess a lot of what makes love songs so bad are the videos. Sure, a girl “as sweet as a dove” is pretty bad. Aren’t doves birds of war? Maybe I’m confusing them with owls, or the peregrine falcon. In this gem from LL Cool J, we get braggadocio from the singer mid-song about how many girls are calling him. LL is still going these days as an actor and I’m sure his wife makes him sing this one every year for their anniversary. If you think this song is bad, you’re wack. Plus, he uses the word “unfurl” and there’s a nice narration segment at the end.
Honorable Judge Jevon gives honorable mention to the banger “I Love You” by Lil B.