When I got married, I suddenly became much less concerned about love songs that dealt with unrequited love or emo love or the lack of love or being burned by love, etcetera ad nauseum. Instead, I suddenly found myself looking for love songs that are positive about love. And sadly, this is really hard to come by.
The biggest danger about love is becoming completely engrossed in the romantic idealism of love. You either end up with really ridiculously sappy lyrics, or you end up with some really cheesy, overly manufactured melody. In other words, it’s really easy to complain about love. But to sing about how love is actually kinda cool? That, apparently, is really difficult to do.
In honor of the fast approaching Valentine’s Day, here are some love songs that are lovey dovey, but don’t suck.
1. I’m Your Moon, by Jonathan Coulton
This song chokes me up every single time I hear it. Jonathan Coulton’s more famous for his incredibly whimsical and nerd/geek culture-friendly songs that deal with the idea of loneliness. Deviating from his usual theme, I’m Your Moon is a love song from Charon to Pluto, and though it deals with the perennial theme of loneliness and isolation, along with it is a passionate plea and promise that sends chills up my spine every time I hear it.
2. The Bird and the Worm by Owl City
My cousin, upon hearing about my love for Owl City, grew dismayed. “Owl City is music for like, peppy middle school girls.” She’s right; Owl City perhaps doesn’t really break a lot of new ground, and Adam Young (the creator) has been accused of copying Ben Gibbard’s style (of Death Cab for Cutie fame). But there’s something infectiously optimistic and just happy about his music. The Bird and the Worm is an unabashed love song — but it doesn’t lay it on thick, and the intoxicating puppy love it describes feels genuine for this jaded romantic.
3. Tus Ojos by Belanova
I’ve posted this song on my blog before, and it deserves posting again. This song is fun and catchy, and it also has the benefit of being a love song (and a pretty ethereal one, too).
4. Fall Into Love by Rabbit!
I’ve posted this song on my blog before as well, and again, it deserves re-posting. It’s lyrics read like a classic, stereotypical love song — but the song itself is whimsical and fun. A lot of times, love is portrayed as super passionate, and this means super serious, along with deep sighs, longing glances, and a good deal of torment. Yes, love is scary a lot of the time, but it should also be fun, and this song portrays that fun pretty well. Pro tip: If you’re not having fun in your relationship 90% of the time, something is up; reassess.
5. Giving Up by Ingrid Michaelson
This song is maybe one of the most realistic songs about love I’ve ever run into. Dealing with that age-old question of “What if?”, Ingrid Michaelson composes a heartfelt song about what love is really about — giving up. A lot of songs talk about what the person would do for love, but perhaps more telling is how a person reacts to situations he or she didn’t anticipate. Life, along with love, is messy. I don’t want my wife to climb a mountain for me. I just want her to love me even when sometimes I’m not exactly what she had originally signed up for. This song is exactly about that, and it makes me cry.