Today is Valentine’s Day. Yes, it is a silly holiday, one created primarily to drum up business for the likes of candy, floral and jewelry companies (a strategy that has worked to great effect, by the way). It is also a day many take quite seriously, one reserved for romantic dinners, gifts and, for many, proposals and (they hope) accepted proposals. Simply put, Valentine’s Day is love’s holiday. It’s also a day when romantic music is on display. With that in mind, here are some of the best, worst and weirdest love songs ever recorded. Best to avoid the latter two categories, unless your significant other either requests these tunes or has a really weird sense of humor.
BOYZ II MEN, "I'll Make Love to You"
Some love songs are subtle, with metaphors wrapped in lyrics one must unroll to truly grasp a song’s meaning. This smash single, released in 1994, is not one of those songs. “Throw your clothes on the floor/ I’m gonna take my clothes off too”: We know what’s about to go down. Hell, it’s right there in the title. Looking back, this song is somewhat hokey (in its defense, many love songs are), but for a time in 1994, this was the hottest track going. It actually tied a then-record for most weeks spent at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 radio charts.
WHITNEY HOUSTON, "I Will Always Love You"
The Dolly Parton version is great; this version is better. In fact, this is a rare case of a hit movie (The Bodyguard) being remembered more for a song than, you know, the actual movie. Whitney Houston’s cover of “I Will Always Love You” spent 14 weeks at No. 1 and is widely regarded even today as among the greatest love songs ever recorded. It’s even considered by many as the signature song from one of the greatest voices in the history of pop music.
ELVIS PRESLEY, "Can't Help Falling In Love"
This is one of those songs that hold up, to the point where it’s not uncommon to hear this tune from the King played at weddings and anniversary parties alike. It’s a timeless classic in the vein of singles from other greats like Frank Sinatra and Miles Davis. The lyrics are straightforward and the song doesn’t overstay its welcome, which adds to its accessibility. Yes, one of the dudes from Twenty-One Pilots covered this a few years ago, and no, it’s not any good.
CELINE DION, "My Heart Will Go On"
Not so much bad as simply overplayed, this song was a phenomenon when it exploded on the scene in 1997. Like Titanic, the movie from which it spawned, “My Heart Will Go On” set records aplenty and was pretty much the biggest thing going in 1997. And like that film, the song hasn’t held up nearly as well as one might have thought 20 years ago. In fact, it’s pretty much synonymous with a movie that is mostly remembered for one thing...if she loved him so much, why exactly couldn’t Kate Winslet make room for Leo on that little life preserver?
JOHN MAYER, "Your Body Is a Wonderland"
John Mayer is a damn good guitarist and a pretty decent songwriter in his own right. This, however, is not his finest hour. “Your Body Is a Wonderland,” allegedly penned as a tribute to then-girlfriend Jennifer Love Hewitt, is clichéd and hokey to near-Nickelback levels. In fact, Mayer got a taste of his own medicine in 2010 when ex-girlfriend Taylor Swift penned “Dear John,” a far less complimentary song – but a far superior track – than this.
JAMES BLUNT, "You're Beautiful"
This track was the fourth-highest-charting single of 2006 and one of the top 100 most-spun radio tracks of the previous decade. Proof, once again, that many terrestrial radio listeners are gluttons for punishment.
Slim Shady got his point across to ex-wife Kim Mathers on this track from his 2000 breakthrough, The Marshall Mathers LP. Yeah, he loves her, so much so that he's driven to kill her, her new man and even a child in proving his point. The song was so gruesome, particularly the whole “acts of violence against children” part, that portions of it were even censored on uncensored versions of the album. It also proved one very simple thing: At the turn of the century, Eminem really had some things to work through.
BARENAKED LADIES, "One Week"
How this song was such a hit in the late '90s is a mystery, in that it’s nonsensical and hard to follow. However, attempting to decipher the lyrics – which, admittedly, took some time – reveals that it’s a love song of sorts, one that certainly falls on the weird side of the love-song spectrum.
TENACIOUS D, "Fuck Her Gently"
There was a time when Jack Black wasn’t so much annoying as he was entertaining and only somewhat annoying. Case in point, this track from Tenacious D’s debut album, which comically encourages the fellas to slow it down on occasion when it comes to lovemaking. Today, of all days, those are words to live by.
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.