Facebook   Twitter   Instagram
Current Issue   Archive   Donate and Support    

Love Has Come Along


It’s February, and that means it’s the most important holiday for romantics looking to express affection in a socially acceptable manner: Groundhog Day.

Seriously, Valentine’s Day is little more than a nauseating display of polyester teddy bears and chalky heart candy, but it does provide an excuse to break out a list of the greatest torch songs in history. You could probably find these at Bart’s CD Cellar, but since they’ve been shuttered (rest in peace, West End landmark), you’ll have to do your due diligence online to find this collection, a perfect CD mix for your candlelight dinner:

10) “I’m Yours,” Jason Mraz: Sure, this song was everywhere for the last two years. There’s a reason. Lilting melody and a freakin’ ukulele. Nothing says I love you more than saying it with a ukulele.

9) “Always On My Mind,” Willie Nelson: There are a few good versions of this song, but Willie Nelson provides just the right amount of broken-down country warble to make it really mean something.

8) “I Can’t Help Falling in Love With You,” Elvis Presley: “Wise men say/only fools rush in/but I can’t help falling in love with you.” The elegance of this song lay in the coupling of a simple classical melody and honest lyrics. Which is why it remains on this list 46 years after its release.

7) “Let’s Get it On,” Marvin Gaye: Marvin preaches with such conviction that even the most chaste virgins find their resolve crumbling under the refrains of this one.

6) “Let’s Stay Together,” Al Green: One of the best things about Pulp Fiction was that it re-introduced the world to this song, a perfect collaboration of Southern gospel, Philly soul and lush production. Just the kinds of things love should be made of.

5) “These Arms of Mine,” Otis Redding: This unabashed plea for affection was one of the main reasons Otis’ solo career took off. Plus, it’s a waltz, which is like, the official tempo of old-timey love songs.

4) “Alison,” Elvis Costello: This song speaks to every guy who lost the girl to some jerk who totally mistreated her. Granted, there’s a touch of an insane, if-I-can’t-have-you-nobody-can-have-you bloodlust in it, but hey, all love is a little crazy, right?

3) “At Last,” Etta James: It’s the theme for every woman who believes a little too much in fairy tales—that someday, finally, the prince would come, the skies would be blue and her heart wrapped in clover. I’m not sure why clover, but it sounds pretty.

2) “Can I Stay,” Ray LaMontagne: Ray LaMontagne is a latter day Nick Drake with better chops and a gravellier voice. This song’s sweet yearning captures aching loneliness as it’s being chased away by the heart-swelling moments of burgeoning love, without a hint of guile or cheese.

1) “God Only Knows,” The Beach Boys: The entire Pet Sounds album is still arguably the greatest ever recorded, and this song is an excellent example why. The lyrics are elegantly poignant. And then, there’s this perfectly pitched vocal harmony, layered on a beautiful melody that resolves into a round of pulsing, heart-breaking sweetness. It’s enough to make a grown man cry.


Lacy is an award-winning food writer and blogger. She lives in Westminster with her family. Google

Leave a Reply