A Playlist for the Hopeless Romantic
We're a family of music nerds. My husband used to even write a blog reviewing obscure and interesting new albums he'd come across whilst I attended an obscene number of indie gigs during my time spent living in Hamburg with a ragtag group of fellow ex-pats, artists and students. We're a fickle pair when it comes to our favourites, suspicious of the ones who try too hard to seem too cool or anyone that doesn't have fun onstage.
As we've gotten older and grown both individually and as a couple, our tastes have mellowed somewhat: his from the proper Northern grit of Milburn and the Maccabees to the more melodic Father John Misty, the raw harmony of The Staves and the upbeat yearnings of Alvvays; mine from the emotional masculine overbearance of Bright Eyes, Modest Mouse, Cursive and The Rapture towards more feminine folksy Laura Marling, manic pixie goddess of our dreams Jenny Lewis, the baby Loretta Lynne/country queen incarnate Caitlin Rose and the soulful crooning of my most recent obession, Cecile McLorin Salvant (thanks mom!).
Together we are building our vinyl collection, a mixture of charity shop gems (Neil Young, Carole King, Dusty Springfield, some James Taylor and Johnny Cash to remind me of my parents, The Temptations and Supremes for fun) with new albums that we've fallen in love with and are excited to share with our daughter (Fleet Foxes, Angel Olssen, The XX, both of Adele's masterpieces) and albums that provide a bit of nostalgia for our relationship, artists and bands that we've seen together or listened to at pivotal moments (Bon Iver, Slow Club, Keaton Henson, J. Tillman, Florence and the Machine).
Every couple has a song and it's not always the coolest, sometimes it's just some silly pop song that has stuck in your heads and like it or not, reminds you of each other (our guilty pleasures are Taylor Swift's Shake it Off and The Lumineers' Hey Ho and pretty much the entire 90s Oasis catalogue). When this song comes on, your eyes meet and wordlessly you stop whatever you're doing for a wild lip synch and fist pump at a wedding or a boogie in your kitchen and you're in your impenetrable bubble of glee, marveling at the fact that this goofball dancing right there with you (possibly playing air guitar) is yours.
I'm a big believer in the idea that the time-honoured tradition of a first dance as man and wife at a wedding comes from this exact moment: watching the person you love get swept away by some ridiculous power ballad in the middle of a public place (usually a supermarket) and realising that no matter how silly they look, you can't wait to spend the rest of your life with them so why not dance headfirst into the rest of your lives together?!
Music can evoke the full spectrum of emotions but, perhaps most extraordinarily of all, it can be a time machine: it takes you straight back to where and when and with whom.
With the very timely release of our most expert love-song chanteuse's new track, Adele leads off my list (in no particular order) of the greatest love songs. Is your favourite on here?
1. Adele (and Bob Dylan) - To Make You Feel My Love
2. Al Green - Let's Stay Together
3. The Maccabees - First Love
4. Seasick Steve - Walkin' Man
5. Bon Iver - Skinny Love
6. Pomegranates - Sail Away With Me
7. Alexi Murdoch - All My Days
8. Alvvays - Marry Me Archie
9. The Coral - Dreaming of You
10. Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong - The Nearness of You
11. J. Tillman - For an Hour With You
12. Bromheads Jacket - Turn Me On
13. Joni Mitchell - A Case of You
14. Iron and Wine - Such Great Heights & Flightless Bird, American Mouth
15. Yazoo - Only You
16. Mazzy Star - Fade into You
17. Oasis - Songbird
18. Rilo Kiley - With Arms Outstretched
19. Nathaniel Rateliff - Happy Just to Be
20. Keaton Henson - Lying to You