© Jack Beats

SMYTHY SELECTS: Quirky Heart-Melting Love Songs

© Jack Beats

          © Jack Beats

Thanks to college, I’ve delved into the concept of “love” enough to doubt its existence as anything other than a social construct that keeps us buying Hallmark cards and obsessing over dating apps like OKCupid and Tinder. With all of their quirk and charm, however, these songs melt me down to sappy goo. Listen to this playlist in one sitting, and you will become one with your inner marshmallow.

Bright Eyes–First Day Of My Life
In “First Day Of My Life,” Conor Oberst, the mastermind behind indie rock group Bright Eyes, makes love real–without even mentioning the word. His sentiment is more honest than any of the cheezy love ballads they overplay on the radio, acknowledging the reality of a relationship without sacrificing the optimism that makes love so enjoyable: “So if you want to be with me / With these things there’s no telling / We just have to wait and see / But I’d rather be working for a paycheck / Than waiting to win the lottery.”
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Alanis Morissette–Let’s Do It (Let’s Fall In Love)
“Birds do it. Bees do it. Even educated fleas do it.” With all the natural kingdom asserting such peer pressure, I don’t mind caving in–“cold Cape Cod clams” are doing it, “sentimental centipedes” are doing it, so time to make like the “beans” in Boston and fall in love. Morissette certainly has if this huge divergence from her Jagged Little Pill-era cynicism is any indication.
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Ella Fitzgerald–Too Marvelous For Words
“Too Marvelous For Words” magically comes up at the height every romantically intense moment I experience. This line is too good–and too relatable: “You’re much too much / And oh so very very / To ever be / In Webster’s dictionary.”
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A Fine Frenzy–What I Wouldn’t Do
With this one, A Fine Frenzy’s singer/songwriter Alison Loren Sudol hits the heart right in the soft spot. The saccharine giddiness of the acoustic guitar, clap-friendly rhythm, and imagery of baking mud pies, climbing trees, and wrapping blankets around shoulders gets me every time. Even when I’m single, this song sends me swirling through memories of long-ago crushes, grinning all the while.
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Mary Lambert–She Keeps Me Warm
I first heard this song in a room full of queer women, just after a fierce political argument about the nature of LGBTQ allyship in Macklemore’s “Same Love” (which includes bits of Lambert’s song). Yet, the entire room was in agreement that Lambert’s song (and video) is adorable. And necessary. Straight, gay, bisexual, asexual, queer–unless you’re aromantic, don’t we all fantasize about being swept off our feet after a chance encounter in a coffee shop? Lambert depicts and captures that feeling quite wonderfully–never have the moments of first holding hands and first kissing been so climactically portrayed.
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Ingrid Michaelson–You And I
In this duet, Michaelson captures exactly the sort of optimism that fuels relationships–”Let’s get rich and buy our parents homes in the south of France / Let’s get rich and give everybody nice sweaters and teach them how to dance / Let’s get rich and build a house on a mountain making everybody look like ants / From way up there, you and I / You and I.” Makes me wish we lived in a world where love actually did pay the bills.
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Louis Armstrong–It Takes Two To Tango
It may take “two to really get the feeling of romance,” but it only takes this one song to get me in a tango mood. Armstrong’s delivery, with all of the raspy inflection and cheerful vivacity he brings to the lyrics, makes me want to dance every time I hear it.
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The Mamas & The Papas–Dream A Little Dream Of Me
The beautiful combination of the soft guitar and Mama Cass’s delectably dreamy delivery gets me hooked in immediately. And when the rest of the band kicks in–the drums, the bass, the rest of the Mamas & Papas’ soft oooh’s in the background–it’s sublime: “Sweet dreams ‘til sunbeams find you / Sweet dreams that leave all worries behind you / But in your dreams whatever they be / Dream a little dream of me.”
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Kina Grannis–In Your Arms
Singer-songwriter Grannis’s song perfectly captures that nostalgic bond to a romantically significant place: “Anything we have known, anything we’ve forgotten / In the rain, in the dark we’ll lay / In your arms, in your arms I’ll stay.” I sometimes wish this song had arms, because this is the sort of soothing melody and sentiment that I want to envelop me forever.
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The Velvet Underground–I’m Sticking With You
When I first started putting together this list, I included nearly half of the Juno soundtrack. In the end, only this Velvet Underground song survived my edit–I adore the song’s simplicity, combined with Maureen Tucker’s cute-as-a-button voice. Plus, the song includes so much honesty: “I’m sticking with you / ‘Cause I’m made out of glue / Anything that you might do / I’m gonna do too.”
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Honorable Mentions:

Kat Edmonson–Lucky
Makes me feel as in love–if spacey-ly so–as Edmonson looks in the video

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Kate Nash–Birds
Birds’ pros & cons become a weird and wonderful way to say “I like you”
Buy it here!

Regina Spektor–Fidelity
Love, heartbreak, and a whole lot of whimsy
Buy it here!

Glen Hansard/Marketa Irglova–Falling Slowly
I fall more in love with this ONCE ballad every time I hear it–especially since seeing it live on Broadway
Buy it here!

Iron & Wine–Such Great Heights
Blissful escapist lullaby
Buy it here!

***

~~~Kim Kaletsky is Ideasmyth’s editorial and tech assistant and managing editor of the Ideablog, as well as a senior at NYU studying English and American literature, creative writing and web programming. When she is not busy writing novels and running her lit mag blog, Brouhaha Magazine, she moonlights as a music fanatic and boasts a music collection of more than 12,000 songs–and a mental repertoire that is probably twice as large.

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