1. Elbow - Starlings.
I could easily have chosen 'One Day Like This' and blabbered on about how the song is an "anthem for our generation" or whatever, but when it comes to love you don't care about that shit. A love song is a song for two people (three, if you're lucky). It should say "this is our song, and the rest of the world can go fuck themselves." I'd like to think that's what it's all about, anyway.
2. The National - Fake Empire.
"We're half awake in our fake empire" croons Matt Berninger, vocalist of the very mellow The National. As this song crescendos with intensity with guitar hooks and trumpet swirls, you just want to close your eyes and wake up to a Fake Empire of your own.
3. Antony and the Johnsons - Crazy in Love (Beyoncé cover).
The original might be a stroke of genius, but it's not particularly... moving. Antony has promptly changed all that with his spine-tinglingly beautiful rendition. As long as you're not too weirded out by his haunting (read: creepy) voice whilst getting down to it, then it's pretty much perfect. The other option is the cheap laughs that can be had out of Antony pronouncing every specific word: "got me hoping you'll page me right now." Brilliant.
4. Radiohead - True Love Waits.
It's typical of Radiohead to not even record a proper version of what is probably their best piece of work to date. Thom's fragile pleas are surely enough to provoke raw emotion from even the most soulless among us ("True love waits in haunted attics/And true love lives on lollipops and crisps"). It's a song of longing, intimacy, and classic Thom-weirdness: Everything you want from a true romance.
5. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart - Everything With You.
The entirety of TPOBPAH's début album makes me happy. 'Everything With You' is no exception. It makes me realise that I'm young, carefree, and that - somewhere in the world - some people are in love. And, call me a romantic, but something about that inspires me.
6. She & Him - I Was Made For You.
In my dreams Zooey Deschanel is singing this song to me, not Ben Gibbard. It seems all you need to score hot chicks now is musical talent and ridiculous sideburns. Gibbard beats me on both counts.
7. Dave Sitek - With A Girl Like You (The Troggs cover).
Maybe it's the slow tempo, or the "bah bah bah bah bahs" of trumpets, but Dave Sitek has made this song a damn sight sexier than the original. The lyrics of total avoidance of what he actually wants to say are what makes this song so cute - it's not some film bullshit, this song shows real love.
8. Sufjan Stevens - To Be Alone With You.
So, it's a song about Jesus. Maybe. But only if you want it to be. Make your own sexual euphemisms for the "you went up on a tree" line, but despite what Sufjan may have written this about, I've got my own interpretations. This is my favourite gay love song of all time.
9. Bright Eyes - Lua.
When I thought of Bright Eyes, the first love song I thought of was 'The First Day of My Life'. So naturally, I completely disregarded this and chose something else instead. Just as honest as 'The First Day of My Life', 'Lua' depicts a troubled relationship - "I know you have a heavy heart, I can feel it when we kiss" - but that's life. It's not all plain sailing, and it's comforting to know that everyone goes through shit, even Conor Oberst.
10. The Magnetic Fields - The Book of Love.
I could have chosen any song on the aptly named 69 Love Songs, but this one seems to speak out a little bit more than the others. Peter Gabriel released a beautiful cover on his new album Scratch Your Back, but there's only so much orchestras can do. Sometimes, for all the grand arrangements money can buy, all you really want is a man with a really deep voice to sing an honest song to you. Love is simple, close, intimate, and it doesn't get much more personal than this.
Download: At The Sinema Presents: Love Songs, Part 2 [RS]
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