16 Valentines Day Songs From Us To You

Don't hate us for putting something together so last minute, it's still better than chocolates and dead roses right? After all, nothing says "I love you" like just the right song. So we asked our contributors to give us their favorite love-inspired song and why. This could mean a "real" love song, or something ironic and funny -- or both. So without further ado, here's a little love from the Tripwire to you.

Pat Peterman - "I Love The Way You Do Your Thing"

As the editor, I get free reign, so I'm picking a soul song from a relatively obscure compilation out of Birmingham Alabama. Released by The Rabbit Factory, there are plenty of love songs that pull at the heart strings on The Birmingham Sound: The Soul Of Neal Hemphill Vol, 1, but I decided to go with an upbeat number that was the song that first made me take note of this collection of songs. Pat Peterman's "I Love The Way You Do Your Thing" might be the least-southern soul track on the comp, but I certainly love the way she does her thing. --Derek Evers

Patrick Swayze - "Shes Like The Wind"

Like Master Po guided Caine, Patrick Swayze has always been a guru to me. It started with Road House, wherein I learned to be nice until it was time not to be nice, but as I grew older, I realized that He had been there for me well before then, as his She’s Like The Wind soundtracked my ascension to manhood. On Valentine’s Day, even. Dancer, actor and singer, too!!?! Obviously, Swayze is a man with insight to offer a man looking to make his mark in this world. I’m no hoofer, but the Dirty Dancing that took place to said bit of treacle did make that Valentine’s Day much more significant. When you’re fumbling around in a borrowed bed in the time-honored Upstate NY fashion, perhaps emboldened by a warm Budweiser or two, it’s hard not to feel like Johnny Castle. At least until your parents pick you up. --Rob Browning

Ocotillo - "Let Me Love You" (Mario cover)

If a gentleman is trying to win the affections of a lady from an unworthy cad and the promise is uttered "every night, doin' you right," well heck, that's my kind of love song. Ocotillo's cover of "Let Me Love You" glides along over rolling "Obvious Child" drums and even though I don't technically know what "You're a dime plus ninety-nine, it's a shame you don't even know what you're worth" means, I'm pretty sure I appreciate the sentiment. Synths straight from Phil Collins and velvet vocals perfectly gliding over drums that refuse to stop come together to create one of the most damn sexy songs you can drop on your girl for V-day. --Christen Thomas

Jeff Buckley - "Hallelujah"

There are many songs about love in the rock/pop pantheon: “All You Need is Love”, “Love Song” “He Hit Me (It felt Like a Kiss)", but few are as great or haunting as Jeff Buckley’s phenomenal cover of the Leonard Cohen classic “Hallelujah”. Whereas Cohen’s original version has a beautiful fierceness brought on by his serious, heavy voice, Jeff’s soft vocal on the other hand is something teetering on ethereal and otherworldly. When he delivers the line “I’ve seen the flag on the marble arch/but love is not a victory march/it’s a cold and it’s a broken hallelujah!” you hear a young man that fully grasps the meaning of the song and the fickle nature of love and the world. The saddest part of the story is that Jeff only recorded one studio album Grace. The title is fitting and eerie; he was destined to not walk long on the Earth but within the words and music of “Hallelujah” Buckley gave all that cared to listen one of the greatest cover songs of all time. And he found grace. Amen. --Danny Phillips

Ted Leo And The Pharmacists - "Under The Hedge"

Understated but always versatile in meaning, Ted Leo has always had a way with words. This is my favorite of his songs, one that I read as a very simple nod to the complicated thing that is love and the remarkable ways in which it tends to unfold. It captures me by "but I still love you, you see?" and has me totally floored by love, language, and music by "I ran like a rabbit from your rifles." It's beautiful without ever being sentimental -- a rare and genuine accomplishment. As a bonus, it's so catchy you're bound to love it long after your inevitable breakup. --Sarah Flynn

The Smiths - "There Is A Light That Never Goes Out"

Never has a story about a death wish been as delightful as this upbeat 80's classic. "There is a Light..." is also a subtle love song. It's about the time in all of our lives where things aren't going so great, but we have the joy of love to keep us alive. Or rather, it's the moment when you are with your love; the emotion you feel, you'd be happy to die right then and there. Death could come by being crushed by a double-decker bus or a ten ton truck. It doesn't matter how horribly you are killed, as long as you are killed together. You don't want to go home, you want to die horribly with your lover because it's best to die with joy in your heart. It's so romantically goth. --Meiyee Apple

Paramore - "That's What You Get"

Dear Harmonix,
There is a band that no credible music critic likes, a band that is made for record execs that wanted another Avril, a band that caters to pre-teens. This band is Paramore. However, what you have done with this song, by putting it in Rock Band 2, has made fans out of all of us? The lyrics that we warble into the toy microphone speak of how love is painful, and asks "Why do we like to hurt so much?" While all I ask is "Why do we love playing fake guitar to this song so much?" So thank you, Harmonix, for allowing us single folks to have fun on this Valentines Day. A day that was meant for lovers can now be a day where single people nationwide can get together to play your game and become one. That's what we get. Love, Meiyee Apple

Radiohead - "Where I End And You Begin"

Perhaps it's just the mysterious demeanor behind Thom Yorke’s heart-piercing vocals, or the ironically disturbing idea of eating someone alive for the sake of love, but Radiohead’s “Where I End and You Begin” is a Valentine’s Day must-listen-to for those sad sappy suckers out there who can’t quite get a grip on the woes of love gone awry. We’re not saying you should sit down and drown your love-life-sorrows with a box of chocolates (or for some of us out there, a bottle of whiskey), and the dejected-Radiohead blues, but the cynic romanticism surrounding the lyrically driven dirge will give you something else to think about on Valentine’s Day when you’re tired of watching lovebirds swoon over silly Hallmark nonsense, or at least, that’s what this writer will be doing. --Brianne Sullivan

The La's - "There She Goes"

The La's Lee Maver's greatest and simplest song is still considered an epic moment in British music. Even though he went on to suffer one of the greatest bouts of writer's block, if that was the price he had to pay just to write this song, it was all worth while. As the rumor circulated that the track was actually about heroin and not a girl, the tune's legend has grown even more, and the rumor only adds to its
power. Not only does it add complexity to one of the most simply structured songs, it also throws it into the pantheon of great ambiguous love songs like "Golden Brown," "Brown Sugar," "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds" and "Beetlebum." And let's face it, when it comes to love, the best kind is a bit intoxicating, dangerous and painfully addictive. It's hard to come by a better metaphor than that. --Miguel Banuelos

Swervedriver - "Duel"

It's not an obvious choice -- its not dripping with saccharine sweetness like "God Only Knows" or "My Sharona" -- but when you are 16 years old and confused as hell about girls, sometimes there's only music to help you through it. To me, this song was the epitome of everything that was cool in the world; tattered leather jackets, sun-scorched expanses of pavement and an unstoppable rock 'n' roll juggernaut with guitars set to "kill." It's connection to 'love' is more in the form of escapism, in imagining, even for a few moments, that your not just another awkward 16 year old kid, but instead, a globe-conquering badass that has women all figured out. Because, let's face it, nobody is really all that cool at that age, whether we think we are or not. -- Jason Jackowiak

Black Joe Lewis - "Bitch, I Love You"

Austin's Joe Lewis juxtaposed track of love is nothing you or I haven't felt before. It's love without explanation, it's tortured and it's frustrating. There are late nights and there are wrongdoings. There are arguments and professions of outright violence. All of these sentiments are expressed in the classiest of ways, through good old blues. Midway through the song when Lewis straight talks his woman through curses and threats for making him blue, it's not so much pre-meditated domestic violence as it is a man complaining to his peers, bitching about everything this woman is putting him through. But, at the end of the track when he meets his lady again, the true feelings come out despite all the wrongdoings. Bitch, I love you. --Kyle Rother

Type O Negative - "Love You To Death"

Nothing says white trash romance like Type O Negative -- I mean that in the most respectful and endearing way. No matter how many times Peter Steele croons this tune, it always feels like the first, bloody time. Sensual, sexual, even sadistic at times, this track unravels the brutal vulnerability of lust, love and emotional servitude. This song vividly reminds me of the power behind the carnal force of sexual attraction, as well as the murderous weapon it can be. The words “am I good enough, for you” resonate to anyone who has experienced betrayal and affirms how quickly we can begin to question our own worth when things don’t go according to plan. With sweeping keys, signature Type O distortion and kill yourself vocals, “Love You To Death” is the perfect soundtrack to a romantic night of box wine, Fredericks of Hollywood lingerie, fist fights and hours of dirty make up sex. --Zeena Koda

Tin Hat Trio - "Empire of Light"

"Empire of Light" may be the saddest, sweetest love song I have ever heard. Written by Mark Orton in memoriam of his wife Lauren, who drowned tragically in 2003. I find it difficult to listen to this composition without tears in my eyes, and could not imagine crafting a more beautiful and somber melody in the wake of such an incredible loss. The poetry in this song is more inspiring and honest than anything I could say about it. Orton has committed an eternal eulogy to music. An everlasting hymnal for the love he and his wife shared in life, after death, and in his dreams. "Quiet as a photograph. Knowing you would cry for me. Now you're watching over me, endlessly. I'll be dreaming… of you." --Andrew St. Aubin

Bob Dylan - "Lay Lady Lay"

I remember the first time I heard this song. I was with my mom, we were running errands somewhere when I was a kid. We'd pulled into the parking lot of wherever we were going, and the song had just come on the radio. My mom stopped the car, turned up the volume and told me this was one of her favorite songs. We sat in silence, listening, until it was done, and something in this song ever since then has held the same magic that it did for me that day. "Whatever colors you have in your mind/I'll show them to you/And you'll see them shine." Doesn't get much better than that. I have a deep and rapturous love for Bob Dylan anyway, but you have to respect someone who can write a song about gettin' it on on top of a big brass bed and make it sound romantic and wistful. Plus, this song (and all of Nashville Skyline) are proof to any naysayers that Mr. Dylan can definitely carry a tune. And he didn't even need a bucket. --P. Elizabeth Cawein

James Brown – "It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World"

There's nothing more chivalrous than the Godfather of Soul himself declaring for the entirety of Mankind the fact that no matter what he has done, out of all the accomplishments and failures, it would mean nothing if not for Woman. As Mr. Brown says, man made cars, roads, boats, trains; man made toys for baby girls and baby boys, and man made money to buy even more from other men. Some might think it a pre-feminist movement or an old world thought for this to be a “man's world”, but it still holds true that this world would be nothing for a man without a woman or a girl. --Kyle Rother

New Kids On The Block – "Please Don't Go Girl"

I have a lot to thank New Kids On The Block for. Not only was it my first introduction into the madness of fan obsession (which I would later helm and put in effect for Radiohead), Joey McIntyre is also responsible for being the formative reference for my future crushes. Any dude with blue eyes and a great smile now makes my heart go a-flutter. But most importantly, "Please Don't Go Girl" was the first love song I ever heard as a wee young Jenz in 1988. It fit a generation of young love that was both innocent and realistic, Joey singing to his 'best friend' "Please don't go girl/You would ruin my whole world." The video also includes all five Kids singing in an abandoned warehouse, roaming the streets of a metropolitan city, and then ending at an amusement park. Sweet. Last month I got "You're my love within" from this song tattooed on my inner left forearm -- true love is forever, indeed. --JENZ

16 Valentines Day Songs From Us To You