Fuck and Run, Nebraska and other Valentine's Day classics

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The Outfield, Your Love: Unabashed cynicism sung to the tune of an undeniably awesome power-pop hook make this song the perfect antidote and compliment to any Valentine's Day. Romance would be so much simpler if we were all as upfront with each other as Tony Lewis is here.


Liz Phair, Fuck and Run: I was tempted to list Liz's iconic Exile in Guyville in its entirety. It was such a chore to decide which song to single out amongst so much jaded and raunchy perfection. Ultimately, Fuck and Run's simultaneously hopeful and dismal refrain earned it the honor: "I want a boyfriend. I want a boyfriend. I want all that stupid old shit like letters and sodas."


Ronnie Elliott, Bluer than You: Although I've known him for years, I've recently become obsessed with Ronnie Elliott and I've yet to calm down to the point that I'm able to write thoughtfully about his music. All I can say is that I saw him perform this song at The Globe a few weeks ago. When he sang Bluer than You's bridge ("It's dreary in this heart and I'm so damn lonely") it felt like the most profound thing I'd ever heard.


Bruce Springsteen, Nebraska: An interstate killing spree may not be your or my idea of a good first date and the following lyric is utterly twisted, but it is most certainly a declaration of love: "Sherriff, when the man pulls that switch, sir / and snaps my poor head back / you make sure my pretty baby / is sittin' right there on my lap." How touching?


Patty Griffin, Mad Mission: It's a simple ode to the absurdity, improbability and utter ludicrousness of the entire romantic enterprise. It served as a sort of anthem for me for the first two years I had Griffin's Living with Ghosts: "It's a mad mission / under difficult conditions / not everybody makes it to the loving cup / It's a mad mission / but I've got the ambition / It's a mad, mad mission / sign me up."


Eric Taylor, Peppercorn Tree: I first heard Peppercorn Tree when I opened for Eric in Atlanta. He hadn't recorded it yet and I was devastated. When I got word that it was available on his latest album, Hollywood Pocketknife, I couldn't get my ears on it soon enough. Eric accomplishes the extraordinary feat of distilling an entire life into a six minute song. The writing is cinematic and the sentiment is achingly beautiful. If you have a soul or would like to grow one, go to Eric's site right now and download this song.


Madonna, Justify My Love: From the sublime to the puerile, this song explores the human sexual experience from base to tip. (I couldn't resist.) I hear it as an exhaustive catalogue of the outrageous lies we tell our lovers and ourselves in our unending quest to get off. Of course, "I wanna kiss you in Paris" and "I wanna have your baby" don't sound like outrageous lies in the heat of the moment. We are such idiots.


Joni Mitchell, The Last Time I Saw Richard: Joni's a genius who writes in accidental parables. In this song, two old friends psychoanalyze each other over a little too much wine and the truth and tragedy of human life gets summed up in one brilliant metaphor. I think "dark café days" would be an amazing tattoo or name for a band.


Lorna Bracewell, Forever, Girl: I always find a way to shamelessly plug one of my own tunes and this list is no exception. Here's my justification: I haven't eked out many love songs over the years - in six albums, you'll find two - so, when I do, I am genuinely proud of them. For this brief musical moment, I set aside all complexity and ambivalence and sing a simple little ditty about how I'm gonna love someone forever and ever. It's very nice.


Julie Lloyd, The Big Goodbye: Julie and I have played a number of shows together over the years and her introduction to this tune never ceases to amuse me. She says she wrote it out of guilt while she was "on the rebound." "People on the rebound never get love songs written for them," she says, "so I decided to fill that void." It's a song about how we use each other to survive. It leaves me wondering if maybe that's all love really is about.

Traditionalists, romantics and cynics who would like to get laid next Saturday night, order your roses now! Valentine's Day is a mere 8 days away. If you wait much longer you'll be sporting a pot of mums on the big night and, trust me, mums will get you nowhere.

In honor of our annual celebration of love (or cheap romance if you prefer), I've compiled a list of my favorite love songs. Before I launch into it, I'd better take a moment to clarify my definition of what constitutes a love song. I'm pretty sure I deviate radically from the common wisdom on this.

A love song is simply a song about love. It is does not have to be about any one particular kind of love. For instance, according to my criteria The Troggs' Wild Thing is a love song as is Biggie Smalls' One More Chance. A love song also does not have to be about any one particular phase of love. For instance, Dylan's Don't Think Twice, It's Alright is a love song even though it's about a romance's bitter end and not it's elated beginnings.

With my analytical framework now clearly established, I present to you my list of my favorite love songs. If you think this is totally off base and that I'm really just a bitter and withered husk of a human being, please let me know. Just try to put it more nicely than I did :

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