I’m not going to lie. I’ve been really stressed out about this post. Ever since I asked for your favorite love songs, I’ve been trying to listen to all of the love songs I’ve downloaded and collected and put them in some sort of order… And it’s been really hard.
I mean, I’m used to people criticizing my taste in music. That’s nothing new. But the thing about love songs is that they speak to you based on your experiences. And yes, lots of times other people have felt exactly the way you do, but some of them haven’t. So you may think “I Just Called To Say I Love You” by Stevie Wonder is a fabulous love song because you once had a significant other call for no reason in the middle of the day on a random Tuesday and say an incredibly sweet thing to you… But I just think it’s lame. Similarly, the songs I’ve collected below are some of my faves, but you may not like them. Any of them.
I’ve had to convince myself that I don’t mind. That I’m not offending any of you by not including your suggestions. In fact, I was thrilled to get them all and even if they aren’t on the list there wasn’t a single one I didn’t download and like. So thank you for your songs. And here are mine.
Top Five Happy Songs About Being In Love:
“I Will” – The Beatles
I have loved this song for as long as I can remember. I used to steal my mom’s copy of the White Album (on CD – unlike Hey Jude, which I listened to on vinyl) and listen to it on repeat. Although it’s not exactly upbeat, I still put it in the “Happy” category since I think of it as being optimistic and hopeful. Some of the covers are better than the original – my favorite is by Tuck & Patti.
“Some Hearts” – Carrie Underwood*
This is the perfect song to listen to when you’re in that dancing-around-your-room-thinking-about-how-happy-you-are-with-the-boy phase.
“More” – Frank Sinatra
I think this would be the perfect wedding dance song. The lyrics are great, it’s the perfect tempo AND everyone loves Frank.
“She’s Everything” – Brad Paisley and “She’s Every Woman” – Garth Brooks
I had a really hard time rating these two because they’re essentially the same song. So I just lumped them together. I love them because I wish they were about me. Is that weird?
VERY close runners up:
“All I Want To Do” – Sugarland
“Forever” – Ben Harper
“Everything” – Michael Buble
“I’m Yours” – Jason Mraz
“How Are Ya’ Fixed For Love” – Frank Sinatra
“The World” – Brad Paisley
“Slow Show” – The National
“Somebody Loved” – The Weepies
Top Five Sad Songs About Heartbreak:
“I’m Movin’ On” – Rascal Flatts
This is quite possibly the saddest song ever. I saw them in concert when I was in college and I was thrilled they didn’t sing this song because I was worried my friend Amanda might catch me crying in the Tacoma Dome. And she is not one to let something like that slide.
“The Trouble With Love Is” – Kelly Clarkson
I’m not ashamed to admit that I love Kelly Clarkson. I even bought her really terrible most-recent album. This song is perfect for her soulful voice, too. I particularly like how she blames love itself for her heartbreak, instead of the people she falls for. It’s also playing during the credits of Love Actually, for you more acute listeners.
“I Can’t Make You Love Me” – Bonnie Raitt
This is the perfect song for loving someone who doesn’t love you back, but not quite being ready to admit it. Starlee Kine mentions this song in my favorite episode of This American Life. She says the two men who wrote it were inspired by a story they read in which a man got drunk and shot up his girlfriend’s car. In court, when the judge asked him what he’d learned from it, he said, “You can’t make a woman love you if she don’t”.
“And So It Goes” – Billy Joel
Billy Joel is a timeless classic. My dad gets no small amount of grief for his musical taste (and some of that grief comes from me), but he redeemed himself completely for any past or future musical crimes when he introduced me to Billy Joel at a young age. This song describes the moment when you realize that by opening up your wounded heart to another person, you’re risking everything. And it’s totally worth it.
“One Sweet Love” – Sara Bareilles
Sara Bareilles is one of my favorite new artists. She’s come to Portland twice in the last six months and I would have paid double the ticket price to see her, but the first time I was out of town and the other was the night before the biggest event I plan all year. This is my favorite line:
The time that I’ve taken I pray is not wasted
Have I already tasted my piece of one sweet love?
Ready and waiting for a heart worth the breaking
But I’d settle for an honest mistake in the name of one sweet love.
REALLY Close Contenders:
“Baby Don’t You Break My Heart Slow” – Vonda Shepard OR Taylor Swift. Both versions are good.
“Every Time I Hear Your Name” – Keith Anderson
“Light in Your Eyes” – Blessid Union of Souls
“Where I Stood” – Missy Higgins
“Divorce Song” – Liz Phair
“Stay” – Sugarland
“What I Really Meant to Say” – Cyndi Thompson
“Stay Gone” – Jimmy Wayne
*Yes, I included country music. It’s just so good at describing affairs of the heart. And I have no shame.