I work in a department store, and when I walked into to work this morning I groaned when I heard the tunes playing overhead. The horror…romantic songs! I thought to myself, “Are we trying to get people to buy things – or sneak off to the fitting rooms to have sex?” In case you wondered, yes, we have caught customers having fitting room trysts! I’ve never been lucky enough to do so, but I have heard too many stories from other co-workers to NOT believe that it’s happened! Customers have also used fitting room trash cans as toilets, too, which is why the trash cans had to removed. This is why we can’t have nice things!
Aside from maybe a couple of the tracks I heard in this “romantic” rotation, I pretty much disliked every single song that was playing today. Just before my shift was over, I said to my co-workers, “I hope I get to clock out before Whitney Houston comes on again.” And sure enough, as if on cue, my coworker Julie said to me, “There you go, Heather.” And then…”it” started. THAT song. The one that went insane on the 1992 charts membrane. The one used in that self-serving vehicle in which Houston appeared in 1992. Yes…that one. “I Will Always Love You.” The song that would make Dolly Parton turn over in her grave if she were dead (she recorded the song first, and I am convinced it MUST be a better version, but then maybe that’s just a “grass is always greener” kind of statement).
So I basically spent my whole shift thinking of songs that would be on MY Valentine’s Day playlist. Songs that aren’t likely to appear on any of the generic Billboard lists you might run into online. These are MY love jams! And yes, some of these songs might make just make me melt a tad bit, even though I am not generally a rom-com kinda gal. But I figured, Valentine’s Day is Wednesday, might as well share a little something, right? And so I present to you…
My Personal Valentine’s Day Playlist
1. Can’t Take My Eyes Off You – Frankie Valli, 1967
Actor Heath Ledger in the 1999 film 10 Things I Hate About You, in this scene, he is singing this song to Kat, played by Julia Stiles.
“At long last love has arrived…And I thank God I’m alive…..You’re just too good to be true…Can’t take my eyes off you.”
I just like the cut of this song’s jib. the horn section, the no-holds-barred honesty, the wearing of the heart on the sleeve. And Frankie Valli just had a great voice when he wasn’t doing that falsetto crap he did with the Four Seasons. What woman doesn’t want this song sung – or played – just for them? Football stadium optional!
“Temptation,” New Order, 1982
Actress Kelly MacDonald in the 1996 film Trainspotting, which featured this song. And lots, and lots of drug abuse – and brawling!
“Oh, you’ve got green eyes…Oh, you’ve got blue eyes….Oh, you’ve got grey eyes…Oh, you’ve got green eyes…Oh, you’ve got blue eyes…Oh, you’ve got grey eyes…And I’ve never seen anyone quite like you before…No, I’ve never met anyone quite like you before.”
This one is kind of a “personal” song. My husband Mike always says he’s never sure what color my eyes are, so this, I guess is one of “our” songs. Kind of makes both of us a bit gooey. It’s really a good song on its own, though – nice driving guitar, a catchy melody, thoughtful lyrics.
“How Can I Tell You,” Cat Stevens, 1971
I ALMOST didn’t want to include this song, since a cover version of this song by someone called “Chan” was used in a DeBeers advertisement in 2006. I am PRETTY sure we had a trivia question in a tournament about DeBeers a few months back, too. I kind of think this company is evil, because I think they’re responsible for pushing the whole “buy diamonds” idea on men – and the masses. I have no problem with people making romantic gestures on Valentine’s Day, but if those gestures involve spending too much money because you feel you “have” to and not because you want to, then that’s just kinda sad. Any DeBeers connotations aside, I still have to say that this is a very nice romantic song, and chock full of irony…
“I need to know you…Need to feel my arms around you…Feel my arms around you…
Like a sea around a shore.”
The irony is that the underlying theme of the song is he “can’t think of right words to say.” Yet..that is exactly what he does! It’s a nice acoustic guitar tune with simple melodies and a light touch. There’s nothing overwhelming about this song, except maybe in the sentiments expressed!
“Catch,” The Cure, 1987
A clip from the video for “Catch,” by the English band The Cure.
“And she used to fall down a lot…that girl was always falling again and again…And I used to sometimes try to catch her…but never even caught her name.”
Mike says it reminds him of one of our first dates in 1992, when we took a walk in a city park in Mount Pleasant, MI. I stumbled when I tried jumping on top of some brick landscaping surrounding some plants, so this song will always remind him of that time I failed my dexterity check. It’s still a nice little song on its own, with violin adding a touch of wistfulness in addition to the skilled storytelling throughout.
Every 1s A Winner, Hot Chocolate, 1978
You might already be familiar with this song’s more popular cousin, “You Sexy Thing,” which was part of the soundtrack to the 1997 film The Full Monty. But this is definitely a song worth giving a listen! How about on Valentine’s Day when you’re having a more…private moment? To hire me as a DJ, call (JK!). I first heard this song while watching the 1999 teen film Detroit Rock City and I basically fell in love with it. The deep bass grooves, the driving electric guitar, the funk/disco/rock vibe all intertwined into one great song with off-the-cuff, honest lyrics.
Give the lyrics a real listen, and it’s basically about a guy worshiping a woman…and the undeniable magnetic sexual attraction therein…
“Never could explain just what was happening to me…Just one touch of you and I’m a flame…Baby, it’s amazing just how wonderful it is…That the things we like to do are just the same.”
Take ONE guess what “things” he’s talkin’ about here!
My husband and I used to bicker about music, and he would say “I hate all disco songs.” I managed to prove to him that this song, on some levels, IS a disco song – and he likes it! Sure, he will still argue that it’s mostly a funk song, but still can’t deny the disco undertones! I’m sure it was played frequently at NYC’s Studio 54 back in Bianca Jagger’s “wild child” days!
In Your Eyes, Peter Gabriel, 1986
I almost didn’t want to include this song because of its association with that insipid 1989 movie Say Anything. In that movie, John Cusack plays a character who professes his love for a woman by hoisting a boombox over his head and blaring this song. I cannot for the life of me explain why I don’t like movies directed by Cameron Crowe, but I just don’t like movies directed by Cameron Crowe! Let’s see, Almost Famous, Vanilla Sky, Say Anything, Jerry Maguire… nope, I don’t like any of them!
I DO like this song, however. I also like that it was supposedly inspired by Rosanna Arquette, which kind of gives the song a bit more…substance and meaning. I also like the fact that’s the “other” song that was written about Rosanna Arquette besides the one that Toto did that everyone knows about.
Just so you can’t say this blog has all dude photos! Rosanna Arquette showing off her lovely… eyes.
“In your eyes…I am complete…In your eyes…I see the doorway to a thousand churches…In your eyes…The resolution of all the fruitless searches.”
I remember hearing someone absolutely BUTCHER this song on a karaoke night, and though I wanted to one-up that horrible singer by also singing this one, that’s a breach of karaoke protocol! I did pick another Gabriel song, so I did “Sledgehammer.”
“Every Little Thing She Does is Magic,” The Police, 1981
Who loves short shorts? It was definitely an early ’80s thing…
This is a song about love from afar, and a guy being too nervous to tell a woman how he feels. Add that to the piano stylings of Mauritius native and keyboardist Jean Rousel, and you’ve got a pretty sweet pop song. And I just HAD to add the part in there about Mauritius, since Africa is one of my “pet” trivia categories, and it’s one of the Indian ocean island nations. Did you know Mauritius is where the dodo lived – and died?
“Though I’ve tried before to tell her…of the feelings I have for her…in my heart…every time that I come near her….I just lose my nerve as I’ve done…from the start.”
It’s just kind of hard not to like this song – and wish that it was written about you!
“She’s Always A Woman,” Billy Joel, 1977
I have to admit that it’s the piano of the song that initially drew me in. It’s just brilliant – and showed that Billy Joel was – and still is – at the top of the rock/pop keyboard game. He IS the “Piano Man.” And if you take a look at the lyrics of this song, he appreciated whichever woman it’s about on ALL levels.
“She can kill with a smile, she can wound with her eyes…She can ruin your faith with her casual lies…And she only reveals what she wants you to see…She hides like a child, but she’s always a woman to me.”
How else could someone who looked like this wind up marrying Christie Brinkley? The pen is truly mightier than the sword!
Well, that’s all I’m going to hurl at you right now! All of these songs are fairly easily searchable via Spotify, YouTube, or whatever other music service you choose if you want to give any of them a listen!