Ten albums for Valentine’s Day


The Appalachian Online

William Curry Davis

Valentine’s Day is a day of romance, elegance and energy that makes you want to spend time with that special someone. Lovebirds can go to dinner or see a movie, but there is always the choice to spend the evening together in the comfort of your own home.

Dimmed lights, scented candles, flowers and a home-cooked meal can be a good start to a date at home, but what is playing in the background? What is the music choice for such an occasion? Perhaps one of the following albums would be worth playing during the upcoming romantic holiday. But what’s on in the background? What’s the music of choice for such an occasion? Perhaps one of these following ten albums would be worth spinning on this night of romantic nights.


Jack Johnson, “Sleep Through the Static”

If there is a man knows how to establish a mood, it’s Jack Johnson. Through his soulful voice and songs about love and the human emotion, he creates an experience that sounds like love. He can make his listeners feel any emotion, even if love has nothing to do with it, extending from a sarcastic view of heartbreak in “If I Had Eyes” to the sound of a heart’s dedication in “Angel.”


Willie Nelson, “Stardust”

Now who doesn’t love good ol’ Willie? Not only is he a honky-tonk hero to many, he is also one of the jazziest country artists of all time. This is apparent on his 1978 release “Stardust,” which is as much jazz at some parts as country. Tracks like “Georgia on My Mind” and “Blue Skies” are smooth jams for you and your date to bond over and enjoy. This album is a good option not only in the tracks it possesses, but because it bypasses all of Nelson’s upbeat country drinking jams like “Good Hearted Woman” and “Whisky River.” These tracks don’t fit with the typical Valentine’s Day vibe. This is an album for those crazy country rebels who refuse to conform to standard Valentine’s Day music.


The Internet, “Ego Death”

A little electro-soul can gain the interest of any valentine, and The Internet can help. Yes, that’s their name, and Al Gore is not a founding member.The vocals may sound familiar to Odd Future fans, who can find comfort in the groovy-soul sound Matt Martians and Syd tha Kyd create in Ego Death. Syd tha Kyd, along with Odd Future alumnus Matt Martians, hit a groovy-soul sound in “Ego Death.” This is their latest release and it is exciting to see what else they may release in the future, especially with cameos from talents Janelle Monáe and Odd Future collaborator Tyler, the Creator. This is a great album for any couple to listen to together.


The Memories, “Hot Afternoon”

For the fans of the psych-retro-rock sound, The Memories can take you back in time with a unique swing feel. Hailing from California, much of the group’s lyrics reflect a more fun-loving time. With tracks like “Dad’s Not Home” and “I’m So High,” it is easy to see the lighthearted side of these lovable guys. Many of these tracks seem to belong in a new-age version of Ron Howard’s American Graffiti, reminiscent of ’50s swinging rock n’ roll. This underground favorite will have you and your date slow dancing into the night like a prom scene from your favorite nostalgia movie.


Don McLean, “American Pie”

Yes, everyone has heard this song before. Future generations are already singing the chorus in their part of the theoretical future. Beyond the infamous title track, however, tracks like “Vincent” and “Winterwood” are timeless pieces of acoustic splendor that would make just about anyone’s heart melt. McLean really puts the finesse in his guitar work and lyrics that make listeners say, “He’s only known for American Pie?” Plus if your date is really into the art of Van Gogh, “Vincent” is a good way to ease conversation freely between your record collection and “Starry Night.” Since the song is based on that specific piece, it can be useful to know in the case of an ill-fated awkward silence.


Allen Stone, “Last to Speak”

In this 2009 release, Allen Stone creates a sort of soul-folk that suits the neo-soul artist well. Not only is he a talent as a singer, but he can play guitar and write a song like no other. With this talent he creates a euphoric aura that feels like he’s singing straight to the listener’s heart and soul. This album can be a good move to put a romantic stir on the night. Songs like “Reality” and “Breathe Anymore” bring out his soulful side and are a good catalyst for you and your date to do the same. Then when the two of you begin to feel a little antsy, Stone delivers tracks for you like “Poison” for you to get your groove on to. Overall, this album can really bring out feelings in a multitude of tempos. It’s always good to have the ability to change speeds when necessary. Why would anyone want to drive a car with only two gears?


Elton John, “Greatest Hits”

Elton John’s “Greatest Hitsis a great compilation to have in your romantic arsenal. With many of his slow jam hits spread throughout, the mood couldn’t be sweeter. This can be seen with jams like “Your Song” and “Don’t let the Sun Go Down on Me.” Another cool thing about this album is the occasional rockers like “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting” and “Crocodile Rock” that help create an upbeat atmosphere for when the wine kicks in and the dancing shoes come on. John is a master pianist, and his long-time collaborator and former lover Bernie Taupin is one of the best lyricists pop and rock music has seen. Definitely a classic where you know at least 75 percent of the songs.


Otis Redding, “Otis Redding Sings Soul”

There’s a saying that goes “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Well, you can’t fix Redding. His records were built to last, and that’s easy to tell listening to “Otis Redding Sings Soul” almost 50 years after its initial release. Between the swinging beat to the soulful range of Mr. Redding himself, this record is a must have for any Valentine’s Day celebration. Tracks like his rendition of The Temptations’ “My Girl” as well as Sam Cooke’s “Wonderful World” have perfect melody and style to set the romantic mood. There are also tracks like his covers of Sam Cooke’s “Shake” and the Rolling Stone’s “Satisfaction” that are guaranteed to make listeners want to jump up and dance.


Aretha Franklin, “This Girl’s in Love With You”

What is a list of romantic albums without the queen of soul? Aretha has captivated many with her powerful voice for years, as showcased on this album. Her soulful stylings create an atmosphere of love that can resonate with everyone. This is especially seen in “Dark End of the Street” and her renditions of Beatles classics like “Let it Be” and “Eleanor Rigby” and The Band’s “The Weight.” As mentioned before, song recognition is a big part of song choice for evenings such as this, and everyone has heard of the Beatles. This album also makes it on the list because, well, Aretha is the best, and her backing band really jams in these tunes. That is something anyone can appreciate when looking to insert some serious soul into this Valentine’s Day.


Leon Bridges, “Coming Home”

This new age soul singer has been on the rise throughout 2015. This album combines the retro vibe of 1960s soul with a respect for the groove of west coast surf, and what’s cool about this album is that Bridges picks and chooses which of these two elements to throw in his songs. An example of this can be seen in “Twistin’ and Groovin’,” which has more of the reverb sound than the title track. Bridges’ lyrics also encompass all aspects of love. Tracks like “Brown Skin Girl” and “Smooth Sailin’,” pour out emotions that make couples look each other in the eye and remember why they chose to spend this time together.

Music can be crucial for establishing the right mood on this romantic holiday. This list is a good start, but listeners shouldn’t be afraid to add their own personal touches to their Valentine’s Day playlists.


By: Curry Davis, A&E Reporter