“Escape” by Rupert Holmes
Love songs come in a plethora of varying themes. From sweet and sappy to educational and intriguing, there is something out there for everyone to listen to this Valentine’s Day.
One of my personal favorites is “Escape (The Pina Colada Song),” sung by Rupert Holmes. Once the song starts playing it is impossible not to sing along. The song details a man’s discontent with the monotony of his boring relationship and his search for the author of a personal ad in the paper.
The song’s plot, conveyed through well-rhymed lyrics, is realistic and relatable as much as it is just a really funny story.
While the search for a man who is “not into yoga” and a woman who is “not into health food” is increasingly difficult in the present day; Holmes’ song (written in the 1970s) brings two such people together. As it turns out, the writer of the personal ad is the man’s girlfriend, which just proves that we never know the ones we love as well as we think we do.
So this Valentine’s Day take a leap of faith, pay attention and really listen to the ones you love; because you never know, an “Escape” could be just what you’re looking for.
“Same Love” by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis
By far one of the most iconic love songs of 2013, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ “Same Love” has solidified its place in history as one of the first wildly popular songs about marriage equality.
“Same Love” is both catchy and emotional. The lyrics, raw and honest, describe “our culture founded from oppression” in plain and simple terms while recognizing the dire need for change.
Those lucky enough to have seen Macklemore & Ryan Lewis live in concert know the energy that permeates the massive crowds as Macklemore raises one finger into the air signifying that we are all one and we are all equal regardless of our sexual orientation, gender or skin color.
A powerful song that speaks volumes to our generation, “Same Love” has to be considered one of the best love songs of all time. It reminds us that while we all have our differences, we are united by love in its many forms.
Love is love. So this Valentine’s Day, whether you are like me and waiting impatiently for the holiday to pass or you are celebrating with the ones you love, take a moment to remember that there are still people out there who lack the freedom to be who they are and love who they love. Standing together as one, united, we can overcome the prejudice and intolerance of our past and look ahead to a promising future of equality.
“Poison & Wine” by The Civil Wars
It may not be the first song that comes to your mind when you think of the most epic love songs of all time, but “Poison & Wine” by The Civil Wars is a hidden treasure.
The song only includes a few alternating lines. The chorus, which is a refrain of the line “Oh, I don’t love you, but I always will,” features beautiful harmonizing by the two “Civil Wars,” Joy Williams and John Paul White.
“Poison & Wine” isn’t particularly abundant in lyrics, but the words that are chosen for each line are picked ever so carefully so as to create the perfect mental images and emotions of a relationship. The Civil Wars manage to convey in so few words what takes most other artists five or six verses, which is what makes this song and much of their music (other winners are “My Father’s Father” and “Same Old Same Old”) so special.
The repetition of the chorus, the rhyming and the short, simple and yet powerful lines all come together to construct a magical, slow song that touches on all of the sentiments that exist in a deep love connection.
One of the most powerful lines in the song is the emotive “I don’t have a choice, but I’d still choose you.” Without explicitly stating the fact, this line shows that love isn’t a choice, it is powerful and all-consuming but even if one had the will power to overcome love, their choice would be plain and simple.
The best kinds of love are never easy, but always worth the effort. “Poison & Wine” is a subtle reminder that love is well worth the fight.
“Seasons of Love” from the musical Rent
Though I am not usually a big fan of musicals, “Seasons of Love” from the musical Rent is definitely up there on the list of the best love songs of all time.
The song opens with a series of questions about “how to measure a year in a life.” Should that year be measured in “midnights [and] cups of coffee,” (which is probably how most college students measure their years) or should a year be measured in “daylights, sunsets, inches or miles”?
Eventually, the song suggests that the best way to measure how well someone lives their life in any given year is to look at how much they “share love, give love and spread love.”
“Seasons of Love” imparts an important message: there are only 525,600 minutes a year and each and every moment should be spent in love.
As the song’s female lead belts out “measure your life in love” at the closing of the song, her deep, jazzy, bass voice rings true. The message is simple: life is short and time should not be wasted.
Touching message aside, the song itself, as most musical numbers are, is full of carefully composed harmony consisting of both high and low notes. Perfect for singing along, “Seasons of Love” combines storytelling lyricism with a strong piano melody to create the perfect love ballad.
“Seasons of Love” serves as a reminder that we should not just spend one day a year recognizing the ones we love — but rather each and every minute of each and every year — should be spent reminding the ones we love how we feel.
While the words “I love you” are probably uttered a disproportionate number of times on Valentine’s Day, we should all try a little harder to extend the sentiment past one day on through the whole season.
—By Annie McNutt