Selecting The Proper Valentine's Day Soundtrack

Feeling crazy in love this Valentine's Day? Well, his or her mix CD better include some great love songs. Recently dumped? Then you're probably listening to some songs that help you wallow in your miserable heartache.

As for the rest of us? The ones who know whom we love, but just can't let him or her know how we feel for whatever reason? That's what the tortuous, painful, find-a-hole-to-crawl-into torch song is for. Here's how to know which one you need.

Love Songs


Valentine's Day songs

What they're about: Falling in love or being just plain happy in love.

When to listen: The first six months of any good relationship. After that, the love song just serves as a reminder of what you thought you'd have, and you'll unfairly take that frustration out on yourpartner.

Examples: Righteous Brothers, "Unchained Melody"; Temptations, "My Girl"; Beach Boys, "God Only Knows"; Bob Dylan, "Just Like a Woman"; The Cure, "Lovesong"; Cyndi Lauper, "Time After Time"; Snow Patrol, "Chasing Cars"; Death Cab for Cutie, "I Will Follow You into the Dark" (the most frightening love song ever recorded).

Note: The love song also generally includes all "name" songs, such as the Beatles' "Michelle," Boston's "Amanda," KISS's "Beth" and Elvis Costello's "­Alison."

Heartbreak Songs

What they're about: The painful loss of love via breakup or, worse, death.

When to listen: After your true love's told you s/he loves you, but isn't "in love" with you or, if you're the narrator of J. Frank Wilson & the Cavaliers' or Pearl Jam's "Last Kiss," when you just killed your girlfriend by accidentally crashing your car into a tree.

Examples: Patsy Cline, "I Fall to Pieces"; Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, "Tears of a Clown"; Dolly Parton/Whitney Houston, "I Will Always Love You"; Gram Parsons & Emmylou Harris/Nazareth/"Love Hurts"; Roy Orbison, "Only the Lonely"; and, yes, even "My Heart Will Go On."

Torch Songs

What it's about: The universal experience of unrequited love; the singer laments about someone who doesn't know they exist or who has, since their relationship, moved on to someone else. Torch songs also tend to be a bit tragic in a pathetic kind of way.

When to listen: Never. Writing a torch song is one thing, recording one is another; these serve emotional and commercial purposes for the artists. Listening, though, is no different from a weeklong drinking binge. No good will ever come of it.

Examples: Phil Collins, "Against All Odds"; Bonnie Raitt, "I Can't Make You Love Me"; Dusty Springfield, "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me"; James Blunt, "You're Beautiful."

Note: If Diana Krall or Billie Holiday recorded it, it's probably a torch song.

Local experimental-music nonprofit Nameless Sound announced that the improvised/avant-garde No Idea Festival will return to Houston March 1 at Art League Houston (1006 Wil­lard). Sound manipulators scheduled to perform are Mexico's Mario de Vega, Berlin's Annette Krebs, New York-dwelling Houston native Jawwaad Taylor, No Idea founder Chris Cogburn and Nameless Sound director David Dove. See www.namelesssound.org for more...Longtime Houston roots-rock guitarist Eric Danheim's wife Elizabeth, 43, passed away unexpectedly last week while swimming in Honolua Bay off the Hawaiian island of Maui. According to a local TV station's report, Danheim had trouble swimming and was helped onto some rocks, where she expired from what authorities believe to be cardiac arrest. The Houston Press extends our condolences to Eric Danheim and his family.


Top Sellers
Sound Exchange
1846 Richmond, 713-666-5555

1. Gay Marriage, s/t (7")

2. Born Liars, Ragged Island (LP)

3. Various Artists, Oh Graveyard, You Can't Hold Me (LP)

4. Gris Gris, Live at the Creamery (LP/CD)

5. Wavves, s/t (LP/CD)

6. Helstar, King Of Hell (CD)

7. Cat Power, Dark End of the Street (2x10")

8. Various Artists, Bloodstains Across Texas (LP)

9. Psychic Ills, Mirror Eye (LP)

10. Various Artists, Live To Ride (LP)


KACC (89.7 FM)
Selections from the station's
February 6 log (2-3 p.m.)

1. Van Halen, "Not Enough"

2. Raconteurs, "Many Shades of Black"

3. Steely Dan, "Josie"

4. U2, "Desire"

5. Mean Gene Kelton, "Jailhouse Rock"

6. The Fixx, "Saved by Zero"

7. Texas City Revelators, "Sweet Salvation"

8. Drowning Pool, "37 Stitches"

9. Pink Floyd, "Welcome to the Machine"

10. Loverboy, "Turn Me Loose"

(lists compiled by Chris Gray)

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