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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Six love songs for Valentine’s

Arts criticism writer Noah Van Soest curates best tracks for love
Noah Van Soest

From me to you: here are a few tracks of love and loving to give this sticky-sweet time a little extra color. 

“Darling Be Home Soon” (Live At Woodstock) — John Sebastian

Emanating out from the front half of that three-day false idol image of free love comes a little music marred a bit by some placebic hippy-dippy coloration, but which is altogether serene. The green grass image of the live sound, the somewhat silence of a hundred thousand or so tuned in to hear. It’s a pining song, a song of love’s power to save a soul, of a sleepy warm breeze, of laying back in the cool of the evening and watching the stars emerge, of leaving the light on and staying up as best one can — of, simply, just having someone to talk to. Synonymity, symbiosis, sanguinity in the sway of the trees. Find it on YouTube or, if you want the full effect, grab it from the box set in the Annex at M1630.18.W664 2019. 

“You Really Got Me” — The Kinks

Humid weight and hard heat beating down through punctured amps and crackling brit harmonies. Reds and oranges thrash around gradiental leather, a biting warmth cascading across wet skin. It’s by no means the most sensual, by no means propels the most ecstasy — but it’s got a certain fire about it through its lashing notes and clipping brushing into the red. My recommendation: spin the mono version for this one and dance till you’re sweat-stained. 

“Kissing You (Love Theme From Romeo + Juliet)” — Craig Armstrong, Marius De Vries & Nellee Hooper

When discussing love songs, one can’t get much more on the nose than a literal love theme. From 1996’s colorful take on the seminal love story, this is music of a momentous meet cute dripping in desire and destiny, of quick snogs in the elevator and lightning striking in the flutter of heartbeats. It is typical on the baseline, the ebbing, breathy strings propelling along. But the vocal samples at the beginning and the distant ecstasy from the short bursts of blue strings in the middle provide the pieces that give this work that extra edge. Is it one of the greats? Debatable. But it definitely beats the fake rose coloring of its overly applauded cousin from 1968 (and you can quote that).

“Run Away With Me” – Carly Rae Jepsen

A saxophone of glistening Olympian metal shoots out through the night, blasting beyond the beams of the inky, neon sunset. An image soaked in breathlessness showing you how love should be: heavy, heart-pounding, riotous, total and true, uplifting with a slightly salacious edge. There is no work here, no trivialities, no material constraints, no overbearing authority, no bootheels to lick or bitter pills to choke down. Here, there is no one else but two. You and me. Here, the world fades into an iridescent kaleidoscope where love is not only forever possible but utterly likely. Beautiful.

“I Stand Accused” – Issac Hayes

Soft piano presses like petals in the pouring rain float across you until you’re led down into a meadow of flowing green and pastel pink guitar twang. But this beautiful tranquility only provides the introduction to a deeper, more nuanced image of desperation, of last hopes, of solidifying impossibilities. This is a story of longing, of love lost, of coming in too late. This is for those who have carried love with them in silence, who keep moving forward, knowing the improbability but hoping still in some way. It’s not what typically comes to mind when one thinks about love songs. But it’s a song about love all the same, love chained, love gasping for air, love lying awake at night, praying for its freedom. And don’t switch it before 4:51, just let it ride over you like a moment that’s already passed. 

“Bohemian Like You” – The Dandy Warhols

Not quite shockadelia, but (wo)man is it dripping. Sun on skin, loose/lack clothes, wind without getting chapped, glossy lips, dirty nails, blonding hair, curls, fluff, go-go boots, snogging and slurping. A gleaming cool sticking its twined wrist up from the chlorinated surroundings of its contemporary and lashing us with shoplifted lipstick from upper forehead to lower chin. It’s still got a touch of 00s sleaze, yeah, and a proto-millennial whoop, I KNOW, but it’s in service of flow, not distraction, so let it pass. Strong, straightforward, feeling like a certainly un-fastidious flashback to that summer crush, that beauty, that sun, that (ugh).

I like it, I like it, I like it, I like it, I like it, I like it, I love it.

Happy Valentine’s Day, loves.

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About the Contributor
Noah Van Soest
Noah Van Soest, Life & Arts Writer
Noah is a history major from Texas. He's a former graphics team member (2023), now shifted towards writing (although continues to do graphics for own pieces). After graduating, he plans to benevolently rule the Gulf Coast with an iron fist.
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