Valentine’s Day is a celebration of love. Though it may be true that its origins are corporate, it has still become an entirely valid holiday which serves to bring about appreciation for the love we hold in our lives. It has, as an added benefit, also transformed the month of February from one which looks upon the seemingly endless gray of winter to one filled with the vibrant pinks and reds that mark the beating heart of affection. Countless ballads have been written on the very subject, boldly announcing endeavors of love and fondness. These are one of the most profound, or at least the most authentic expressions of love between individuals, and thus are a necessary factor for Valentine’s Day festivities. Of those many songs, these are the six which best represent the holiday in all of its lovey-dovey glory:
“Nothing” – Bruno Major
Best Lyric: “Who needs stars? We’ve got a roof / And there’s nothing like doing nothing with you.”
Bruno Major is an artist who expresses a variety of emotions through slow, lyrically focused songs which are supported by gentle instrumentals, though not reliant on them. “Nothing” is not only his most popular song, but also his best. The lyrics are a beautifully crafted poem that speaks to the warmth and tenderness that can be found in only the most genuine type of love–one where the deepest solace is found just in being around one another while moving through the motions of everyday life. It details a relationship between two people not just simply existing, but existing together. They hold the most heartfelt understanding of one another that people can have, a matured love found in the eternally connected. It reminds us that love exists in every part of life, whether consciously considered or not. This song is ideal for Valentine’s Day and its celebrations of affection. It bleeds a refined appreciation of love through each line.
“For Lovers” – Lamp
Best lyric: “Alone in this moving scenery, I stand still and think of you / (Originally) 移ろう景色のなかでひとり僕はたたずみ君を想う.”
Lamp’s “For Lovers” is the simplest of the many songs to be discussed in this article, but its meaning is no less profound. The song, which has only one verse, speaks through the folksy gracefulness of its instrumentals. The music holds within it all the distant, yet comforting warmth of spring, and the serene ambience of hushed voices from a party in the next room. The lyrics tell of a love that lingers in the mind, an instant and undeniable connection between lovers. This song is of an affection which resonates throughout the season, whispering to the soul a constant reminder of the care one holds for another. Lamp’s standing in the musical arena as a Japanese indie band only works to enhance the message engraved in “For Lovers,” the language providing an almost eccentric quality not often heard in Western songs. It is captivating, an ode to the quiet ataraxia of love.
“Valentine” – Laufey
Best lyric: “And honestly I can’t believe I get to call you mine / I blinked and suddenly I had a valentine.”
Aptly named for the holiday in question, Laufey’s “Valentine” is a truly adorable song that expresses the feeling of an individual’s first love. The singer is swimming in a sea of emotions, hesitant at first not to get swept away in the tides of a life-long romance, though eventually allowing herself to be lulled by the waves despite the fading fear of being loved forever. She is swallowed by the ocean, longing, aching for the comfort she knows it provides. The near entirety of Laufey’s discography is centered around the idea of true love, specifically the alleviation of tension that can be discovered within an individual’s first young romance. She revels in the swell of it, highlighting for the world the delightful amenity of being in love with another. “Valentine” tells of a pining that never ends, the gentle and charmingly awkward affection between two people. It is undoubtedly one of the greatest modern love songs, certain to be remembered as a classic.
“Then She Appeared” – XTC
Best Lyric: “And the moon which formerly shone on the marbled midnight mile / suddenly just packed its bags / now shines from her bright smile.”
“Then She Appeared” by XTC is a truly extraordinary ballad of love. Its strength is found in its lyrics, a whirlwind of verses embellished with bold and obscure references which illustrate an expression of true reverence. This song is not typical by any stretch of the word. The love described is a sudden burst of a color, a supernova of desire and pure, unadulterated adoration. The title “she” is far beyond a girl whom the singer loves–she is the definition of love itself, an idol or a god whose existence is transcendent by nature. She is a supreme being, worshiped with all the enlivened devotion of a lover who wants and knows only her. To know her is suffocation, welcomed with open arms to be consumed entirely. She is the sun, the sky, the very air breathed by the singer. She is philosophy herself, history and art modeled in her image. The supporting instrumentals cement this tremendous pronouncement of love, with bouncy guitar cut by bass and balanced by the unique inclusion of sitar. Few songs can match the level of admiration XTC captures, none able to achieve such a feeling of salvation by love.
“La Vie en Rose” – Edith Piaf
Best lyric: “When you kiss me Heaven sighs / And though I close my eyes / I see la vie en rose / (Original) Il me parle l’a tout bas / Je vois la vie en rose.”
“La Vie en Rose” rightfully deserves its place on this list, being one of the most iconic and well-known love songs of all time. Its value has transcended the barriers of language, now known around the world for the most elegant assertion of endearment. It is a classic oldies ballad, though the love it talks of is timeless. The song is something straight out of one of the original Disney movies, a narration of Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty’s own true love story. It is representative of an honest-to-goodness romance, a love which the very heavens envy and so shower with the beauty of life. “La Vie en Rose” is a love that never tires, and its message is enhanced still by the enthralling grace of its original French lyrics. It is only fitting, of course, that such a song would originate from the country of love.