From what I’ve observed in recent years, most people don’t seem to regard Valentine’s Day in a very positive light. The holiday offers none of the perks that others boast—no day off from school, no presents, no ceremonial feasting. To make matters worse, Valentine’s Day exists solely for couples, and thus excludes a substantial portion of the population from its celebrations; no wonder bitter individuals created the alternative holiday of “Singles Awareness Day.”
In truth, however, I actually enjoy Valentine’s Day for three of its major aspects:
- Candy. During what other time of year can you find Conversation Hearts in stores?
- Greeting cards, especially the cut-out ones with cartoons and bad puns that little kids exchange.
- Most importantly, love songs.
In contrast to Valentine’s Day, you don’t have to be in love to appreciate love songs. Instead, you can immerse yourself in the musical experience, feeling what the artist wants you to feel, be it excitement, anticipation, or overwhelming joy. Below, I’ve provided you with a playlist of my top five favorite love songs, which you can enjoy whether single, in a relationship, loving Valentine’s Day, or complaining about it. Enjoy.
“How Will I Know”–Whitney Houston
As we commemorate one year since the passing of the great Whitney Houston, it seems only appropriate to honor her work in a playlist of love songs. While her epic ballad “I Will Always Love You” is hands down my favorite Whitney song, I acknowledge that it more prominently describes loss than love. Instead, in this playlist I’ll feature a younger Whitney singing her light-hearted and energetic number-one hit, “How Will I Know.” Between the dance-inspiring, upbeat melody and the giddy yet but naive lyrics, the song serves as the perfect anthem for inexperienced, youthful love.
“Stay”–Rihanna feat. Mikky Ekko
The third single from Rihanna’s latest album, “Unapolagetic,” this slow piano ballad features an absolutely beautiful melody with lyrics that poetically recount the act of falling unconditionally—and possibly unwisely—in love.
“Hold On”–The Chain Gang of 1974
From the pulsing beat to the cosmic synth backing, every aspect of this song inspires in me deep emotion. It’s honest, pure, and almost too much to handle. The chorus pleads that “Your love is all I have to hold on to.” Overdramatic? Yes. But that’s what makes it fantastic. Sometimes, the best love songs consist of the bold and over-the-top gestures of which we would never dream of speaking.
“National Anthem”–Lana Del Rey
Regardless of your feelings about Lana Del Rey, you have to acknowledge the masterpiece quality of this song. More than a love song, it’s a song for a generation. As Lana belts, “It’s a love story for the new age, on a quick, sick rampage.” Lyrically, the song deals with fast, excessive, and quintessentially youthful love, while the instrumental background coupled with Lana’s voice provides a rather haunting listening experience. Not to mention, the music video is beautifully directed and well worth watching if you ever have six minutes to kill.
“San Francisco”–The Mowgli’s
I’m not sure if the huge instrumental sound or the chorus of beaming voices draws me more into this song, but I do know that its infectious enthusiasm renders it difficult not to press the repeat button immediately after the last note sounds. Bright and optimistic, the love in “San Francisco” is guaranteed to set you in a lighthearted mood.