Need upbeat, only slightly offbeat, love songs
January 17, 2014 1:27 PM   Subscribe

For the last few years I've been making my wife Valentine's day mix tapes. At this point I've pretty much burned through all the songs that have personal meaning or I can come up with off the top of my head. I need some suggestions for this year. For perspective think "I need you" or "My Kinda Lover," by Billy Squier; U2s version of "Everlasting Love," "I'm Gonna Be" by The Proclaimers, "I Want You to Want Me" by Cheap Trick. Basically I'm looking for songs by well known bands that are obscure or long forgotten, or songs from bands I've never heard of that fit the bill. Songs should be upbeat and preferably sweet but not saccharine.
posted by robverb to Media & Arts (39 answers total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
Have you mined 69 Love Songs by the Magnetic Fields yet? Lots of good material there.
posted by misskaz at 1:30 PM on January 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

Hollerado Good day at the races ?
posted by St. Peepsburg at 1:32 PM on January 17, 2014

The Shins - Simple Song
Dan Mangan - Robots
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 1:39 PM on January 17, 2014

I've always loved this adorable song by Michael Bernard Fitzgerald, "Care For You".
posted by Falwless at 1:39 PM on January 17, 2014

Home by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
posted by jabes at 1:44 PM on January 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

Issac Hayes - Something
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:45 PM on January 17, 2014

The Reasons — The Weakerthans
posted by Johnny Assay at 1:46 PM on January 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

I never miss a chance to recommend the most shrill hair-metal love song of all time, I'll Never Let You Go by Steelheart.
posted by jbickers at 1:52 PM on January 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

How about U2's Sweetest Thing? It kind of flew under the radar - it was a B side that only otherwise got released on a greatest-hits CD, and it has an adorable backstory - apparently Bono got so caught up during the Joshua Tree recording sessions that it wasn't until they were all getting ready to wrap up one night - at 11 pm - that he suddenly realized "oh, fuck, it was my wife's birthday today." So he begged the other guys to stay a little later while he really quick wrote this and they recorded it so that could be her birthday present. (That's why the video is him holding up all these signs saying he's sorry.) It's also kind of upbeat and cute.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:53 PM on January 17, 2014 [2 favorites]

Possibly my favorite Mountain Goats song, "Going to Port Washington"
posted by jason_steakums at 1:58 PM on January 17, 2014

I love Simply by Sara Hickman.
posted by lemniskate at 2:01 PM on January 17, 2014

Susan Tedeschi's cover of Loving You is Sweeter than Ever is KILLER. Amazon link here
posted by wemayfreeze at 2:04 PM on January 17, 2014

Response by poster: Thanks for the responses so far. I appreciate all the effort and don't want to denigrate anyone's attempts to help out, but anything that's country or metal (hair, heavy, death, or other) is out (as is hip-hop, and pure pop).

I can tell you that I spent nearly an hour the other day looking for a strong but "twangless" cover version of "Home," But other than this (which I love), I don't think it exists.

On your recommendations, I just purchased the Rod Stewart track and added The Sweetest Thing (didn't know the back story - thanks!)
posted by robverb at 2:06 PM on January 17, 2014

3 songs off Springsteen's Tracks — previously unreleased songs that mostly only die-hards now know:

Give the Girl a Kiss
I Wanna Be With You
My Love Will Not Let You Down
posted by wemayfreeze at 2:10 PM on January 17, 2014

"Obscure" is a really relative term here but I love "You Make Loving Fun" by Fleetwood Mac and I think the message is sweet--I think it's one of their lesser-known songs, but then again when it came out I hadn't been born yet.
posted by lovableiago at 2:12 PM on January 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

Again, everyone may already know this one but: "Right Down the Line" by Gerry Rafferty (best known for "Baker Street" and being a member of Steeler's Wheel).
posted by lovableiago at 2:15 PM on January 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

Don't know how much these are romantic love songs per se, but when I'm feeling dreamy and love-hungover I return again and again to:

- "I Summon You" by Spoon
- "Know-How" by Kings of Convenience
- "You Turn Me On, I'm a Radio" by Joni Mitchell
- "Hounds of Love" by Kate Bush
- "Falling" by Haim
- "Walking Through That Door" by Future Islands
- "Razor Love" by Neil Young
- "I Want You" by Elvis Costello
- "Good Good Things" by the Descendants
posted by magdalemon at 2:16 PM on January 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

I always pop into these threads to offer "Go Places" by the New Pornographers:

Come head on, full circle
Our path blocked but sure we'll
Make records, then set them
Make copies, win races
Stay with me, go places
Once more for the ages
posted by charmedimsure at 2:27 PM on January 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

Pure, The Lightning Seeds
Speak Like a Child or Headstart for Happiness, Style Council
It Must Be Love, Madness
posted by scody at 2:28 PM on January 17, 2014

The second time today I am pimping Jellyfish on Mefi: Calling Sarah
posted by thelonius at 2:28 PM on January 17, 2014

The Wannadies - You and Me Song
posted by billiebee at 2:40 PM on January 17, 2014

Dyslexic Heart by Paul Westerberg
posted by jillithd at 2:49 PM on January 17, 2014

Is it time for me to suggest The Weepies again on the green? Oh yes it is! Try "Be My Thrill", "Somebody Loved", "I Was Made For Sunny Days", "Hummingbird", "Gotta Have You", "Painting By Chagall".
posted by foxfirefey at 3:47 PM on January 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

I'm Sticking with You
Drove All Night 1 2 3
posted by K.P. at 4:07 PM on January 17, 2014

Best answer: The song "The Gambler" by Fun. is really quite touching.
posted by batmonkey at 6:00 PM on January 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers/The Refreshments
Maybe We Should Fall In Love

Not exactly upbeat but two of my favorites:
Green and Dumb
posted by Nolechick11 at 7:09 PM on January 17, 2014

I know you said no country, but I suggest giving Jonathan Coulton's Just As Long As Me a shot. It is a bluegrass style, so I don't know it is what you think of when you think country.

Also, try his Skullcrusher Mountain. Note that the videos are video game based, but they are fan made.
posted by slavlin at 8:44 PM on January 17, 2014

I.O.U. One Galaxy - The Ataris
Call It Love - Poco
Whenever You're On My Mind - Marshall Crenshaw
Steal Away - Robbie Dupree
posted by SisterHavana at 10:00 PM on January 17, 2014

The Day (We Fell In Love) - Appaloosa
...This may be one of the most beautiful things I have ever heard.

Oh I would die for this feeling
Give all my soul for this deadly feeling of love
Now I feel that the day has come
The day has come
You're calling me across the beautiful sky
My heart is crashing against the rocks
Responding fiercely as I face your dark eyes
I walk to you, I swear I have wings
I was flying the magical day we fell in love

Two hearts unchained, Flying...
posted by Soap D. Spencer at 10:48 PM on January 17, 2014

Beat Your Heart Out by The Distillers
posted by pH Indicating Socks at 12:03 AM on January 18, 2014

Response by poster: Definitely a few here I can use for the mix tape, and you've introduced me to some pretty great songs I never heard before.

@batmonkey - Never heard "The Gambler" by Fun before, but I can't possibly use it for my Valentine's Day mix tape as I absolutely have to use it all by itself for our anniversary. I predict she'll cry even more than I did.

@foxfirefey - Nice, thanks.

@TheWhiteSkull Can't believe I never used "All I Want Is You" before, that's a great call. But "Here's Where The Story Ends????????" I absolutely love that song, but for a Valentine's day mix? Were you just messing with me there?
posted by robverb at 7:33 AM on January 18, 2014 [2 favorites]

In Spite Of Ourselves, John Prine and Iris Dement
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 11:05 AM on January 18, 2014

I'm late to the party but I have to share "Fear and Delight" by The Correspondents.
posted by Sayuri. at 2:47 PM on February 22, 2014

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