A sideways kind of love
August 13, 2018 9:40 AM   Subscribe

I'd like to make a sweet + fun Spotify playlist for my gem of a partner, but my knowledge of good songs for this is very scant. Said partner is extremely warm, kind, and sentimental, but expresses it in very sideways or wry/humorous ways - a direct eye contact + I LOVE YOU SO MUCH is just not their style!

Can you think of songs in any genre that talk about love and affection in a less hyperbolic and/or funny or slightly dark or even ribald tone? Partner is very into clever lyrics and wordplay, but that's not required. This ask was slightly helpful, but it's almost 10 years old and we are much past the crush stage at this point :-)
No songs are too old or weird or obscure! Thank you!
posted by PaulaSchultz to Media & Arts (36 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
Not Spotify, but Tim Minchin's If I Didn't Have You sounds like it would be up your partner's alley. It really screams songs in any genre that talk about love and affection in a less hyperbolic and/or funny or slightly dark or even ribald tone to me.
posted by peacheater at 9:44 AM on August 13, 2018 [1 favorite]

The Book of Love, by the Magnetic Fields is both wry and sweet.
posted by coppermoss at 9:48 AM on August 13, 2018 [4 favorites]

I put Your Personal Penguin on a mixtape for my husband when we were first dating. It is a very fine song and he laughed.
posted by charmedimsure at 9:50 AM on August 13, 2018

coppermoss beat me to The Book of Love - I came in to recommend the same song!
posted by nathaole at 9:54 AM on August 13, 2018

A lot of Jonathan Coulton tunes meet this bill:

Skullcrusher Mountain - supervillain sings to love interest he's kidnapped
Blue sunny Day - Sad vampire love song
First of May -Ribald
The future soon - sad geek love song
My moon - love song to the moon
I crush everything - love song of a giant squid
Soft Rocked By Me - meta soft rock song
posted by edbles at 9:54 AM on August 13, 2018 [1 favorite]

Without getting into the darker stuff, two early Mountain Goats songs, "Orange Ball of Hate" and "Orange Ball of Love" strike me as contenders.
posted by praemunire at 10:02 AM on August 13, 2018

Lilly (My One And Only) by Smashing Pumpkins is a love song from a peeping tom to the girl who's privacy he's violating. Creepy, but, at least to me, darkly funny.
posted by WalkerWestridge at 10:05 AM on August 13, 2018

More Bad Times, by Presidents of the United States of America

You twisted your ankle I carried you/You got a divorce so I married you/You fell off a cliff so I buried you/I wish there were more bad times to see you through
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 10:19 AM on August 13, 2018 [1 favorite]

Jens Lekman has many songs that would suit. How We Met (The Long Version) is a good start.
posted by missrachael at 10:19 AM on August 13, 2018

Stuck with You by Huey Lewis and the News
posted by belladonna at 10:20 AM on August 13, 2018

If you find a Song you like you can start a radio station based on it and quickly cycle through the list. I’ve done this a lot to flesh out playlists.
posted by bitdamaged at 10:54 AM on August 13, 2018

10cc's 'I'm Not in Love' fits the bill.
posted by googly at 10:56 AM on August 13, 2018

Sunday kind of love by Etta James
posted by ellieBOA at 11:15 AM on August 13, 2018

speaking of Jonathan Coulton, at my wedding my wife and I's first dance was to You Ruined Everything.
posted by namewithoutwords at 11:21 AM on August 13, 2018

"Sink to the Bottom" from the first Fountains of Wayne record.
posted by kevinbelt at 11:26 AM on August 13, 2018

Greg Brown – "Who Woulda Thunk It"
posted by Lexica at 11:28 AM on August 13, 2018

My Darling's Downsized by the wonderful Chris Wood. A love song for the grumpy old gits, as he so eloquently puts it.
posted by Martha My Dear Prudence at 11:30 AM on August 13, 2018

Maybe I Love You, You Imbecile.
posted by diamondsky at 12:28 PM on August 13, 2018

Green Lights by Sarah Jarosz.
posted by Riverine at 12:43 PM on August 13, 2018

John Prine & Iris DeMent, In Spite of Ourselves
posted by karayel at 12:50 PM on August 13, 2018 [3 favorites]

If you’re going to include the Book of Love (which you should) you might as well listen to the rest of 69 Love Songs, I’m guessing there are a few more you might like.
posted by q*ben at 2:08 PM on August 13, 2018 [1 favorite]

or slightly dark

Never Ever Getting Rid of Me Sara Bareilles

Slightly darker-er:

This is Love Air Traffic Controller
posted by DarlingBri at 2:41 PM on August 13, 2018

They Might Be Giants have both She's an Angel and Don't Let's Start in the category of "um I think that's probably a love song."

Weird Al's You Make Me is exactly what you'd expect from a love song Weird Al.

Sinatra's I Get a Kick Out of You is a classic non-swoony-romance love song.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 2:57 PM on August 13, 2018

Funny and slightly dark: Your Arms Around Me by Jens Lekman
posted by myelin sheath at 3:35 PM on August 13, 2018

The Wannadies “You and Me Song” is sweet but not saccharine. Sample lyrics:

Always when we fight
I kiss you once or twice
And everything's forgotten
I know you hate that
posted by billiebee at 4:25 PM on August 13, 2018

In Love But Not At Peace - Dar Williams
posted by lunasol at 6:17 PM on August 13, 2018

You're the Cream in My Coffee - Janet Klein
posted by mmiddle at 6:58 PM on August 13, 2018

"Cologne" by Ben Folds. Both the album and the "fake version" are good, but I prefer the fake one, which is more orchestral. Cologne, fake version.. The second verse (about the murderous astronaut buying diapers) is definitely sideways in a love song.

Long Winters, Ultimatum

"Temptation of Adam" by Josh Ritter. Love song in a nuclear bunker, complete with crossword clue.

Magnetic Fields "Come Back From San Francisco"--"I miss doing the wild thing with you."
posted by mermaidcafe at 8:09 AM on August 14, 2018

James - Laid
Willie Nelson - I Never Cared For You
Lloyd Cole - Undressed
posted by Bron at 10:36 AM on August 14, 2018

These are all wonderful, and the genre diversity is great - thank you! mermaidcafe, q*ben, nathaole, and coppermoss - Magnetic Fields is one of the few bands we both really like and will feature heavily in the playlist - maybe I should call it 70 Love Songs :-D
posted by PaulaSchultz at 7:11 AM on August 15, 2018

Jake Thackray's Lah Di Dah is a fantastic example of this genre.
posted by Jellybean_Slybun at 12:12 PM on August 15, 2018

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