It’s that time of year again. The 14th of February, when everyone in love is ‘obligated’ to demonstrate those feelings in ways worthy of a Hallmark card or a romantic comedy, and all the Unloved feel like second class citizens (should they have the energy to care at all).
As has become a Cheaper Than Rubies custom over the past few months, we intend to engage with the occasion in the best way possible: through music. (Don’t worry singletons – there’s a playlist for you too!)
This playlist is unashamedly for the lovers amongst us. It doesn’t matter if you’re newly-weds, have a significant number of years under your shared belt, or if you are still reeling in the first flutterings of infatuation. If you are currently experiencing the greatest thing you’ll ever learn, these songs are for you.
Perhaps you’ll listen to them with your significant other over a candlelit dinner, or curled up in front of the TV with a bag of Malteasers, or maybe they’ll ease the heartache of a long-distance relationship. However you choose to use them, all these songs have an element of the romantic about them, working together to make you feel all gooey inside, and maybe even get you laid… You just never know when it comes to affairs of the heart.
But be warned: the following post may contain cheese.
1. This Old Love – Lior
An ode to the timeless relationships, to those that flow and move through the ages. Lior’s gentle yet intricate guitar work seems the perfect metaphor for the work required to keep a good love going, complementing his honey-sweet vocal. A favourite at weddings since it’s release in 2005, ‘This Old Love’ is sure to stand the test of time, like all great love songs do.
2. Thank You (For Loving Me At My Worst) – The Whitlams
This one is a little less conventional, celebrating the ridiculousness that can sometimes occur when you’re lucky enough to have a partner in crime. Sure, it veers from the traditional settled-down love affair in terms of content, but that’s part of its charm – just because you’re coupled up doesn’t mean you have to be boring. Sometimes love can manifest just from facilitating each other’s madness. It might not last forever, but you may as well enjoy it while it lasts, right?
I’d love to be able to share the original video clip for this track with you, as its sheer ridiculousness sums up the song beautifully, but I guess this live recording from their 2005 DVD will have to do instead. (If you do ever get the chance to see the film clip for this one, do it. It is pretty damn… unique.)
3. Song For Two – The Nymphs
I stumbled across this darling quartet a few months back in a random YouTube wander, and immediately fell in love with their gorgeous dresses and crystal clear harmonies.
This particular ditty is like a time machine, transporting you back to a time when couples ‘courted’ and didn’t live under the same roof until there was a ring on that finger. Granted, it’s hard for a modern, feminist-type woman to see the appeal in such an era, but when you put on the rose-coloured glasses of romanticism, it’s hard to avoid getting swept off your feet, much like the lovers in this tune’s narrative.
4. Make You Happy – Josh Pyke
Josh Pyke knows how to write a damn good love song, and this is just one of the many in his repertoire, reflecting on the give and take of a damn good relationship. The line, “If I keep you on my right/Can I keep you on my left” is almost winding in its innocence and earnestness. His insistence that he is going to do his best to bring joy into the life of his lover could warm even the coldest of hearts, I am sure of it.
5. Love Me Like The World Is Ending – Ben Lee
While Awake Is The New Sleep is easily his most successful album, it’s the one that followed that really made me love Ben Lee. Ripe was written by a man falling in love, and it shows in the tenderness inherent in a number of the record’s tracks. This tune comes off that album, referring to classics like “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes“, and calling for the reckless abandon that is so often associated with the early days of a relationship.
6. Nowhere Without You – Bob Evans
The jaunty piano and cheerful strings, the bouncing melody, the adoration of a lover: with this tune, Bob Evans has created three-and-a-half-minutes of perfect pop. It perfectly sums up the feeling of wanting to curl up with your significant other and just stay there, rather than facing the world. You can’t get more romantic than that, surely.
7. Beautiful To Me – Little Birdy
I confess that despite the fact that this is one of my favourite love songs of the last ten years or so, I completely forgot to put it on this list. Thankfully, the marvellous Britt came to my rescue, reminding me of its existence just in the nick of time.
So why did I miss it? Possibly because this song is so incredibly upfront and simple that it deceives you into forgetting about it, a risk faced by anyone who has ever taken their lover for granted. But don’t be alarmed, for as this song reminds us, both in its frankness and its basic musical style, it’s not that hard to remind our beloved that they are still cared for.
8. Message To My Girl – Split Enz
A romantically themed playlist that doesn’t include this song in a list that is utterly incomplete. Neil Finn’s ability to wrangle his feelings into song are incredible at the best of times, but this song is something else: a confession of love without using the three words that everyone seems to be so afraid to say. It is undoubtedly a piece of lyrical genius, and undeniably one of the best love songs of the modern era.
9. Homesick – Thirsty Merc
Thirsty Merc get a rough rap from the hipster, music-journalist elite. They’re considered too mainstream, only to be enjoyed ironically (no really, I had a friend say that to me once), and seen to be the fare of those who can’t keep up with the latest indie darling of the moment.
So what? This song is all the evidence you need to prove that Rai Thistlethwayte is an incredible songwriter. This tune regularly leaves me sobbing like a baby because it’s so full of longing, and so beautifully arranged, summing up the ache of distance and the joy of reuniting better than their biggest hit ever could. It’s a reflection on being in a relationship for the long haul, knowing that you’ll always do your best to return to the love you call home.
10. Now You’re Home – Clare Bowditch feat. Lanie Lane
And when you do finally get back to your beloved, may this be the kind of welcome you receive. Cheerful and full of optimism, this EP track is full of the joy that comes with a lover’s return, and the promise of a long stay. Sure, there are plenty more adventures to be had, but they can wait. Sometimes all you need is a warm bed, a warm heart, and to be wrapped in warm arms. Sometimes the best way to be in love is just to be together, at home, where you can’t help feeling you belong.
And remember, we haven’t forgotten our single readers. You can find your playlist here!