We’ve chosen ten songs that are unabashedly romantic but also sound stunning. It’s the perfect Valentine’s Day playlist, and thanks to T7 Wireless you can enjoy it with the person you love, anywhere you want to.
D’Angelo: Untitled (How does it feel)
This slow-burn ballad is a flawless homage to Prince from the falsetto right through to the funk. A perfectionist and a visionary, D’Angelo put together a stellar ensemble of R&B musicians, including Questlove and James Poyser, at Electric Ladyland Studios, with the intention of recording his second album, Voodoo, entirely live. The perfect production is a treat for your speakers and the combination of a tight but loose band with nu-soul vocals makes for an utra-smooth groove.
Nick Cave: The ship song
Released in 1990, this highly poetic paean to love was a distinct move away from the blood-soaked sermons usually released by The Bad Seeds. Newly out of rehab and living an unlikely sun-splashed life in Brazil, Cave’s honest declaration of his feelings makes for moving listening – not least due to the un-ironic Glockenspiel solo from Mick Harvey.
Donna Summer: I feel love
Back in 1977, I feel love was a radical breakthrough and it still sounds fresh 40 years on.
It’s hard to overestimate how much this track changed dance music with that motorik, arpeggiated bassline moving countless hips across countless dancefloors. Rock critic Jon Savage put it best:
“I must have heard I feel love a thousand times and it still takes my breath away: it’s one of the great records of the 20th century.”
Yeah Yeah Yeahs: Maps
This is the moment the Yeah Yeah Yeahs stepped up to become the band they always thought they were. The combination of Nick Zinner’s shimmering guitar, equal parts joy and discord, and Karen O’s lovesick, soulful vocals, beautifully mixed and recorded by My Bloody Valentine engineer Alan Moulder, makes for a magical record.
Joyce Sims: Come into my life
An early release on Arthur Russell’s always innovative Sleeping Bag Records. Classically trained NY musician Joyce Sims was teamed with rising-star producer Kurtis Mantronix and together they created a small but perfect body of work. Come into my life is probably the highlight of their partnership; the combination of her crystalline soul melodies and Mantronik’s electro funk production created a template that still resonates through club records today.
The Beatles: Something
At a time when the Beatles’ songs were more often cryptic and less often about love, the simplicity and purity of Harrison’s writing stands out. Once they heard it, the other Beatles could only fall in line and, indeed, spent months editing, arranging and re-recording it to perfection. And for once Harrison became musical director, getting to tell McCartney how to play a bassline: “It was a first,” Abbey Road engineer Geoff Emerick said. “George had never dared tell Paul what to do.”
Beyoncé – Crazy in love
What a way to launch a solo album. The minute the hardcore horns and the catchy “uh-oh, uh-oh, uh-oh, uh-oh’s …” come tearing out of the speakers it’s clear this is not first date material. Co-produced by herself and featuring now-husband Jay-Z, it fuses hip-hop, soul and pop in its irresistibly propulsive energy and makes it clear that as a team, they would be hard to beat.
Ronettes: Be my baby
Phil Spector’s trademark lush, echo-laden sound perfectly accompanies Ronnie’s raw yearning vocals in this ode to teenage love. Starting with Hal Blaine’s epic drum intro, the track keeps on getting bigger and better, incorporating strings, brass, horse gallop castanets and eventually a full orchestra designed to completely fill your world with sound.
Chet Baker: My funny valentine
The legendary trumpet player took this obscure Rodgers & Hart show-tune and turned it into a thing of haunting beauty. The sparse playing and fragile vocal expose the perfectly written bones of the song. Baker’s biographer James Gavin wrote: “The song fascinated [him]. It captured all he aspired to as a musician…Valentine became his favourite song: rarely would he do a show without it, or fail to find something new in its thirty-five bars.”
David Bowie: Heroes
It’s feels rude to leave Bowie out of any top 10, so we won’t. Heroes is Bowie without the props and the costumes, with Visconti and Eno as collaborators and Berlin as an inspiration. A huge and courageous love song filled with a clanging rhythm section and droning synthesisers, this was a new era filled with hope and triumph over adversity, for Bowie and for the world.
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