’Toban tracks

Celebrate love in all its forms with this eclectic Valentine’s Day playlist

The best love songs are not romantic — instead, they say something about romance. Sometimes they are about friends or parents or children or pets or music itself. Sometimes they are desperate. Sometimes they are giddy and ridiculous. Whatever angle it may take, a good love song will make you see love in a different way — some alien perspective that gives the love you know a whole new shimmer. From Siouxsie Sioux’s life or death drama, Alex G’s glowing pride, Sade’s ode to a lost friend, the Motels’ obsessive fixation, Björk’s complex ritualism or Jenny Hval’s cerebral exploration of the very concept of romance, this Valentine’s Day playlist is home to some of the greatest, most dizzying love songs of the past six decades. It is not always easy to love, and it might be even harder to express it in a way that gives it justice. These are the songs that come closest to translating it — all the rush and quietude and softness and violence.


The Last Beat of My Heart — Siouxsie and the Banshees, Peepshow

Just Like We Never Said Goodbye — SOPHIE, Product
Hammond Song — the Roches, The Roches  Nothing Compares 2 U — Sinéad O’Connor, I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got
Sin — Tomberlin, Projections
Proud — Alex G, Rocket
Maps — Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Fever to Tell 
This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody) — Talking Heads, Speaking in Tongues 
Land of My Dreams — Anna Domino, L’amour fou 
Maureen — Sade, Promise
I Knew — Lightning Dust, Infinite Light 
Her Eyes Are a Blue Million Miles — Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band, Clear Spot
Summer Girl — HAIM, Women in Music Pt. III 
We Belong Together — Rickie Lee Jones, Pirates
Futile Devices — Sufjan Stevens, The Age of Adz 
Train Song — Vashti Bunyan, Some Things Just Stick in Your Mind 
Conceptual Romance — Jenny Hval, Blood Bitch
I Just Wanted to See You So Bad — Lucinda Williams, Lucinda Williams
Total Control — the Motels, Motels
Alan — Perfume Genius, No Shape
Baby Birch — Joanna Newsom, Have One on Me 
Gaymo — 12 Rods, Gay?
Laura — Bat For Lashes, The Haunted Man  Thirteen — Big Star, #1 Record
Hyperballad — Björk, Post
Lover’s Spit — Broken Social Scene, You Forgot It in People
I’m On Fire — Bruce Springsteen, Born in the U.S.A.
You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere — the Byrds, Sweetheart of the Rodeo
Good Woman — Cat Power, You Are Free 
It Takes a Muscle to Fall in Love — Spectral Display, Spectral Display
When I’m With Him — Empress Of, Us
Anything We Want — Fiona Apple, The Idler Wheel… 
Marlene — Kevin Coyne, Marjory Razorblade 
Constant Craving — k.d. lang, Ingénue
Right Down the Line — Gerry Rafferty, City to City 
Little Green — Joni Mitchell, Blue
I Can’t Shake the Stranger Out of You — Lavender Country, Lavender Country 
You Said Something — PJ Harvey, Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea 
Stars — Angel Olsen, Burn Your Fire for No Witness
Maria — Patti Smith, Banga
First Person — Gord Downie, Introduce Yerself
Gigantic — Pixies, Surfer Rosa
Baby Love Child — Pizzicato Five, This Year’s Girl 
Buy Her Candy — Sleater-Kinney, Dig Me Out