For Valentine’s Day, the Reader’s Digest columnists reveal their favourite love songs. From the soft blues of Van Morrison to indie-rock ballads and pop classics, this selection will set your heart aflutter
James Walton, Books - “Brown Eyed Girl” by Van Morrison.
A song that brilliantly captures both the sheer excitement of young love and the melancholy that comes with looking back on it. Plus, you can dance to it—or, rather, you can’t not.
Susannah Hickling, Health - “What Other Guy?” by Adam Cohen.
Once, when I was dating a guy who was very undemonstrative, I went to France to see family.
While I was away, he sent me Adam Cohen's "What Other Guy?" and said it reminded him of me. It's a very intimate song and, coming from this guy who was so closed about his feelings, I felt it was a very romantic gesture.
I played it over and over at the campsite where I was staying. I'd never imagined that he'd miss me, but it was clear he did.
Olly Mann, It’s A Mann’s World - “Mr Harris” by Aimee Mann.
Most 20th-century songs about age-gap relationships feel decidedly unsavoury these days (Exhibit A: “Young Girl” by Gary Puckett). But “Mr. Harris” by Aimee Mann (no relation!), from 1993, remains a delight.
It's delivered from the perspective of a younger woman (Mann was 33 when she recorded it) to a much older man ("His hair is white but he looks half his age / He looks like Jimmy Stewart in his younger days"), and it's got the kind of melody that sticks in your head for days. My wife is actually only one month younger than me, but I'd love her to feel this way about me one day!
Jenessa Williams, Beauty - “Don’t Delete the Kisses” by Wolf Alice.
Blending cinematic guitars with a deep narrative storytelling, Wolf Alice’s “Don’t Delete the Kisses” is the perfect dose of nostalgia-capture from those early days of fresh love, with all the heart-pounding uncertainties and tentative possibilities that they entail.
It doesn’t necessarily ride off into the sunset the way that traditional love songs do, but its soaring chorus is a dizzying reminder to hold nothing back in the pursuit of telling that special someone how you really feel.
Jonathan Hancock, Memory - “I Love You Always Forever” by Donna Lewis.
It’s a happy, catchy pop tune about the simplicity of love. And it came out around the time I met my wife Lucy, so it’s full of lovely memories—and still how I feel, 25 years on!
Richard Mellor, Travel - “Just Like Heaven” by The Cure.
Behind their punky sound, there's always something fiercely tender about The Cure's music. “Just Like Heaven” is my favourite: a beautifully intimate relationship is portrayed over an irresistible melody before, heart-breakingly, the bubble bursts. "Why won't you ever know... that I'm in love with you?" I reliably cry every time.
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