Valentine’s Day is once again upon us. Whether you’re in for a romantic evening or still adrift in the sea of singletons, we’ve all got a piece of music that expresses how we feel about love.
This year, with the help of EastLondonLines users, we have collected a series of songs and the personal tales behind what makes them important. Have a look at Daniel O’Donnell’s video compilation of these.
If you’d like to share thoughts on your own song, leave a comment below.
My love song…
Now it’s over to our users to talk beautiful strangers, long-distance love and Sydenham sweethearts…
Merwan Rim – Vous
“How many times have you heard a song and thought ‘wow, this is so about my life…’ The song I would pick is ‘Vous’ by Merwan Rim. It’s about a ‘beautiful stranger’ – someone you don’t know, someone you’ve seen on the street and were unable to stop thinking about. Someone you observe and admire from distance – without intruding. I think there’s just a lot of charm to the song – as well as the video. The fact that it’s in French might also contribute to my choice: it’s the perfect combination of a love song and the most romantic language.” – Ema Globyte, from London
Puddle of Mudd – Blurry
“‘Blurry’ by Puddle of Mudd, because I was a teenager when it came out and still cared about V Day.” – Jane McCallion, from Oxford
Lou Rawls – You’ll Never Find Another Love Like Mine
“It was in Crystal Palace that I fell in love for the first time. His name was Gary Johnson. I loved him so much, he was mixed race, like me, and I thought he was so grown-up and handsome. I couldn’t believe it when he actually said he liked me and wanted to dance with me… I was only young so there was no sex involved just good old-fashioned first love.
“One night, he took me in his arms for the first time and I held on tight and then he kissed me. I tell no lies, I actually floated on air, the air of love.
“The innocence of it just makes me feel so warm inside and I’m so glad that I remember it because with all the hardships I’ve had to endure it means that I have not become bitter and I have known love.” – Delores William, from Sydenham
David Bowie – Heroes
“Love songs have to be bitter-sweet. Just like love. It has to contain the words ‘forever’ and ‘us’ in the same sentence. Otherwise there’s not much sense in it.
“Absolutely nothing is bad about ‘Heroes’ by David Bowie. Charming and cruel, kissing and biting in one moment. We do need to fall in love and we do need to get hurt. Without those two feelings, nothing seems very special. Everyone needs a warrior fighting for their heart. Even just for one day.” – Olga Casablancas, from London
Joanna Newsom – Bridges and Balloons
“I was 18 and interrailing in Europe when I met a very tall, 19-year-old Australian. We were in Nice and stayed up until 4am, walking around the city and talking.
“We hadn’t explicitly made plans to do so, but after he left Europe the Australian and I ended up writing letters to each other, and as the years went by, the letters got more and more elaborate (and romantic). Maybe a year or so into the exchange, I sent him a copy of Joanna Newsom’s album The Milk-Eyed Mender. In the next letter I received from him, he revealed that he had been planning to send me that same album himself.
“The Australian and I have long since parted ways, but The Milk-Eyed Mender, and particularly the first track ‘Bridges and Balloons’, always takes me back to that heady time.” – Anonymous, from London
Uncle Kracker – Smile
“To love someone isn’t having massive gestures or spending money, like buying rubbish on a day created by gift card shops to make money. It’s the little miracles in life that let you feel and ultimately love. My ‘better’ half is the one that puts rhythm in my bones and heat in my heart. She never fails in being her, and that’s all it takes, you find someone that is perfect as they are. She never fails in just making me smile.” – Robert Hoy, from Surrey
The Mountain Goats – No Children
“The Mountain Goats are an obscure band that inspire cult-like devotion in 10 per cent of listeners and indifference in the rest; evangelism is a common symptom. My now-girlfriend tried repeatedly, and often sneakily, during our courtship to get me into them. I played hard to get for as long as I could, but once I reached this point in the album I felt I had fallen into a new universe that was rich and utterly self-contained. Which is what love’s like, innit?
“This song is about two people who are so inextricably a part of each other’s lives that even when they cannot stand each other anymore they cannot imagine separate fates. It is about loving somebody so powerfully that when that love turns to hate its force is just as powerful. It is about devotion, madness and the reckless, wild, all-or-nothing abandon that we also call love.” – Laurence Dodds, from New Cross
Nan Quan Mama – Vanilla Puff
“This song reminds me of love when I was in junior middle school. The love between middle school students is pure and lovely without any purpose or social complicated reasons. The lyrics tell a story of a boy trying to get a girl’s attention. The boy practices playing basketball on the playground late, and every morning he brushes his teeth and washes his hair in a hurry without having breakfast just to wait for his dream girl to walk passed his classroom. This really reminds me of first love on campus, which is beautiful.” – Heidi Gao, from London
Barry White – You’re the First, My Last, My Everything
“For me, it’s got to be ‘You’re the First, My Last, My Everything’ by the late, great Barry White from 1974, dedicated to my boyfriend Fergie who is a bit of a star.” – Nikki Spencer, from Hither Green