Are You Heart of Hearing?

It’s the middle of February, and you know what that means: Valentine’s Day, one of the year’s most controversial holidays, is upon us. Similarly celebrated and hated, fussed over or made fun of, this all-sorts saint’s day is nonetheless an inexorability of our buy-or-die culture. Everywhere, from the corner grocery store to the gas station down the street, everything is decked out in a dazzling display of red, white, and chocolate, while everyone seems to be selling confections, carnations, and cards, taunting lovers either to embrace Cupid or grab him by the throat. It’s a difficult dilemma, especially for even the sincerest romantics.

Our hearts are listening.

We mean you, of course, dear readers. We at Scribbleskiff understand your pain. We have even felt it and dealt with it ourselves. And we are here to help (or hinder) you in your efforts to make sense of all this senseless sensuality by offering a bouquet of the best love songs from the past year — that is, songs that in one way or another invoke “love” and its many-splendored-thinginess. There are happy tunes and sad ballads, songs of wonderment and worry, written by nice guys and bad girls, confident lovers and confused losers — “and then there are folks like you and me,” as Camper Van Beethoven once wryly observed. Whether you are in a relationship, or simply “in between,” we hope you will find something here to sing about. Enjoy!

“Lucky Now,” Ryan Adams. Alt-country crooner Adams returned last year with Ashes & Fire, a quieter, more introspective release than his more rocked-out recent efforts. And if that’s your sweet spot (and it should be), then it’s your lucky day.

“Any Way You Want It,” Clem Snide. One of the best covers of last year, this stripped-down track from an EP of deftly ticklish lo-fi reinterpretations, will make even the most jaded indie rock-lover fall for this Journey chestnut.

“Whole Love,” Wilco. With this, the title cut from their latest release, Wilco once again proves that, no matter what you think of them, they ain’t it. And whatever you do, don’t forget: they are trying to break your heart.
“Couer D’Alene,” The Head and the Heart. This Seattle-based sextet’s debut was filled with upbeat folk-pop songs that fall comfortably between the two extremes noted in their name. What’s not to love in that?

“Little Talks,” Of Monsters and Men. The collective sound of this new (well, new to us in the US, at least) Icelandic folk-rock collective may remind you of others you once desired — think Edward Sharpe meets Bjork — but they will win you over on their own accord(ion).

“Bedroom Eyes,” Dum Dum Girls. Despite their name, this winsome foursome from LA craft smart post-pop songs that offer a seductive mix of surfer licks and shoegazer swirl. You’ll swoon, fer sure.

“Romance,” Wild Flag. As changeable as its subject, this first single from the self-titled debut from Wild Flag — the quote it-“grrl” super-band unquote — will keep you guessing as it slips effortlessly into and out of its many-layered garments, from punk to power-pop to ’60s doo-wop, and back again.

So, there you have it, a musical medicament meant to make you feel good (or bad) about the person you want to share that loving (or loathing) feeling with. It’s what we do.

As always, tell us what you think. Do you have a favorite love song from this past year? Is there a new song or band you’ve discovered and want to tell others about? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

And be sure to visit (and join) the Scribbleskiff page on Facebook (find it here), where you can partake in wall-to-wall conversations, find additional information and suggestions from readers, and more.

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