You Really Got a Hold on Me
June 10, 2019 1:48 PM   Subscribe

What songs remind you of your significant other and why? This is research for a fiction writing project. Some loose parameters inside.

I want you to tell me what songs remind you of your significant other (past or present) and why. Please keep them positive, on the whole (no "this reminds me of my ex because he cheated on me and broke my heart and now I hate him"). I'd prefer not to have songs that are tied to a specific incident ( like, "this reminds me of that time we went rafting"), unless you don't mind me co-opting your memories for my writing :)

An example of what I'm looking for (true to life!): You Really Got a Hold on Me by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles reminds me of my husband because sometimes he drives me bananas and whenever he's being especially annoying I sing "I don't like you/ but I love you" at him, and then we both laugh.

posted by lollymccatburglar to Media & Arts (49 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
SO is from Brazil. The soundtrack of our courtship was Brazilian chanteuse Maysa. Strong associations.
posted by lecorbeau at 1:53 PM on June 10 [1 favorite]

Hep Cat's Love Song Cab Calloway

It's not imagination or infatuation
It's just plain, everyday love
posted by arrmatie at 2:01 PM on June 10

Want by Jawbreaker (our courtship was a similar issue where I finally blurted it out)

Delirious Love by Neil Diamond with Brian Wilson (because it just sweetly reminds me of him)

Let's Stay Together by Al Green (I just melt at the "I... I'm so in love with you" and the way he sings it)

Baby I Love You by the Ronettes (because instead of saying it all the time we sing it to each other occasionally, and the other will sing the backup part)

Similarly, Baby Baby Baby Baby Baby Baby Baby Baby I Love You by Sweet Baby (because it's cute and hilarious)
posted by knownassociate at 2:02 PM on June 10 [2 favorites]

June Hymn, by The Decemberists. My wife’s birthday is in June and she’s a naturalist so the imagery of birds and flowers reminds me of her. I don’t even know if she’s aware the song exists but I can’t hear it without thinking about her.

It’s the Decemberists, so it’s probably about some terrible bloody battle or something. Who knows. It’s lovely.

A barony of ivy in the trees
Expanding out its empire by degrees
And all the branches burst abloom
In the boom
Heaven sent this cardinal maroon
To decorate our living room

posted by bondcliff at 2:10 PM on June 10 [2 favorites]

Waiting room, because Fugazi.

Silly Girl/Dirty Sheets/In My Van, because she refuses to take Liveage! out of the multi-changer in the car.
posted by humboldt32 at 2:10 PM on June 10

You Say by Lauren Daigle. I know it's about God and I'm not religious but I randomly heard it on a singing competition and the lyrics just reminded me so much of how my husband makes me feel. Especially the "Remind me once again just who I am, because I need to know," which speaks to how he makes me feel completely myself. Out in the real world, I need to put on a face and behave a certain way, but whenever I get to be alone with him, I'm reminded of who I actually am and I feel like I'm the purest form of me.
posted by massofintuition at 2:13 PM on June 10 [1 favorite]

Grading papers at a local bar/restaurant, sitting by myself, idly thinking about being an undergraduate again, and the people I knew, and going driving on the back roads in the car of an ex, I wonder how he's doing now... the song playing in the bar turns to Marty Stuart's cover of "High on a Mountaintop," and I am poleaxed with longing and regret:

Well, I wonder if you ever think of me
Or has time erased your memory
As I listen to the breeze
Whisper gently through the trees
I wonder if you ever think of me
High on a mountain top, standing all alone
Wondering where the years of my life have flown
High on a mountaintop, wind blowing free
Thinking about the days that used to be
High on a mountain top, standing all alone
Wondering where the years of my life have flown

I have never heard it before, probably never heard mandolin in my life, but it moves me to tears, right there over my burger. Weeks later, when I run into him again for the first time in many years, he still has his light Southern lilt and deeply serious eyes, and this song has primed my heart. That was 20-odd years ago. We still play Marty Stuart in the kitchen on a Saturday night, and our son sings along.
posted by MonkeyToes at 2:22 PM on June 10 [13 favorites]

Dylan's Lay Lady Lay. I trust no explanation is needed
posted by TheRaven at 2:29 PM on June 10

"I'm shakin'" by Jack White reminds me of an ex because it came out around the time we got together so it was always on the radio when I went to his place.

"Darling be home soon" by Lovin' Spoonful was important to me and another ex from when we spent a year living apart for work/school.
posted by metasarah at 2:34 PM on June 10

Ha! You don't love me, by Dawn Penn. First time we danced, at a beach party on a hot summer night. Despite the song, together for more than 25 years now. Ever since, when I hear that lazy beat, my memory switches back to those first perfect minutes we had together.
posted by ouke at 2:44 PM on June 10

"Fred Astaire" by Jukebox the Ghost.

All my idiosyncrasies
You like ‘em
Annoyed at all the little things
I know I can be frustrating
But you still like me when I'm dancing

Those eyes, damn, those eyes
They get me every time
Those eyes, in those eyes
I can do no crime
When dance like I don't care
You call me Fred Astaire

My partner said this is our song, and I can't disagree.
posted by jzb at 2:49 PM on June 10

When we do something particularly unromantic together (think scrubbing the cat boxes or going to the DMV), one of us will sing the first line of "Isn't It Romantic?" and then for the second line make up a lyric about what's happening. For example: "Isn't it romantic/staring at the ass-end of a Target Superstore?" But we sing it using the voice Peter Cook used in The Princess Bride, aka "Mawwage is what bwings us togevah today."
posted by Orange Dinosaur Slide at 2:51 PM on June 10 [3 favorites]

for me it's always going to be "nothing else matters" by metallica. because any time someone tries to pit us against each other or one of us sees the other needs help we come together like nothing else.
posted by evilmonk at 2:58 PM on June 10 [2 favorites]

I had a boss once who would've answered Still the One to this question. "We still have fun / And you're still the one"
posted by clawsoon at 2:59 PM on June 10 [3 favorites]

"If I Didn't Care" by the Ink Spots. Reminds me of someone I hesitate to call an SO because we both always had our guards up around each other and never managed to overcome that. First time he played this song for me I melted.
posted by queensissy at 3:17 PM on June 10 [1 favorite]

John Denver's "Shanghai Breezes"
posted by ragtimepiano at 3:20 PM on June 10

X You The relationship, mostly long distance was intensely romantic. Lots of long distance calls from dubious phone booths with garbage blowing by. Really, most of the rest of See How We Are. Also, all of The Mekons Rock’n’Roll.
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:24 PM on June 10 [1 favorite]

The Band (Robbie Robertson singing) Out of the Blue. Our relationship felt set to unravel but I was still emotionally attached - us driving along together, enjoying it.
posted by bonobothegreat at 3:41 PM on June 10

A Little Rain by Tom Waits, because that was what was on my YouTube when we started dating.
posted by 8603 at 3:46 PM on June 10 [1 favorite]

Childish Gambino, 3005

It's just very thematic of the past few years. A lot of my long-term friendships have ended, I struggle through mental illness and all he can do is be there for me, getting into our 30s while still being true to ourselves has been A Process.

He also came with me on a 6 hour drive to see Childish play this song live on a weeknight, and then drove us back another 6 hours at like negative o'clock at night, and got me home in time for work the next morning, because he's always down for whatever, even if it's more for me than it is for him and asldkfjlsjkskdjfh

(he isn't a mefite but if he ever sees this: u my fave husband a++ would marry again)
posted by Snacks at 4:03 PM on June 10 [4 favorites]

"Slow Motion" by David Gray. Evokes memories of a perfect night when we saw him in concert.

"Go Places" by The New Pornographers. This was our first dance song at our wedding.

Excuse me, it's rather dusty in here now and I have to go see my lovely wife...
posted by theseventhstranger at 4:11 PM on June 10

Battleships by Travis. Nothing about the song really, we were just listening to the album for the first time at our place in Winnipeg and for whatever reason we just started dancing to it. My wife ironically and me not. Whenever I play that song the memory comes back. It isn't a song that'll just come up though so I've either got to be playing the album or that song specifically.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 4:15 PM on June 10

"That's Him," Kurt Weill and Ogden Nash. ("He's like a plumber when you need a plumber" never fails to crack me up, and the atmosphere is right.)
posted by huimangm at 4:36 PM on June 10

Alison Krauss’s cover of “Gentle on my Mind” -

Though the wheat fields and the clotheslines
And the junkyards and the highways come between us,
And some other woman's crying to her mother
'Cause she turned and you were gone,
I still might run in silence,
Tears of joy might stain my face,
And the summer sun might burn me til I'm blind,
But not to where I cannot see
You walking on the backroads
By the rivers flowing gentle on my mind.

posted by sallybrown at 4:37 PM on June 10

I have lots. Here's one:

We Gotta Get Out Of This Place by The Animals because when our kids were toddlers/preschoolers and it was chaos we would sing this together.
posted by loveandhappiness at 4:57 PM on June 10

“Wrong Again” by Martina McBride. I had just ended a four year relationship when I met my future husband.

“Underneath Your Clothes” by Shakira. Just sums up the passion I felt/feel for him.

I’ve never told him about either.
posted by ChristineSings at 4:58 PM on June 10 [1 favorite]

Stan Rogers: 45 Years, Lock Keeper
posted by clawsoon at 5:19 PM on June 10

"Relatively Easy" by Jason Isbell. The line "step into a shop to buy a postcard for a girl" in particular. Takes me back to an early morning in Göttingen Germany, stopping on the way to the train station to buy a postcard for a woman I'd just started dating.
posted by backwards guitar at 5:45 PM on June 10 [1 favorite]

Merril Bainbridge - Big Machine. This album, Between the Days, was on my car CD player during the heady days my husband and I were falling in love, and this specific song just echoed everything I was feeling.

Throw your arms around me
Caress me till I am clean
Love has finally found me
It's a big machine.

I'd turn up the stereo and sing my heart out - listening to it right now after finding it again is bringing up my heart rate, reminding me of everything I was feeling those early months.
posted by hilaryjade at 6:04 PM on June 10

Julep by the Punch Brothers - the lyrics are all about someone looking back happily on their life with their partner (from the afterlife), which is perhaps an overly maudlin thing to be listening to a lot and thinking about someone you've just started dating, but it was the song that made me realise that, yes, this feels like something that might last the rest of my life, and that she's someone I'd be really happy to have kids with. Which - we just did!
posted by Jon Mitchell at 6:06 PM on June 10 [3 favorites]

Voice of the Beehive - Tattoo Song is a goofy song about getting a tattoo. She had a tattoo, was goofy, and we went to a Voice of the Beehive concert on one of our first dates.

Shonen Knife - Bear Up Bison. I had never heard of Shonen Knife before, but there we were in the living room, dancing to:
Bear up bison, never say die
He has a right to live though he's
Ill ill ill ill-shaped

posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 6:07 PM on June 10

Such Great Heights, because the freckles in our eyes really do align.
This Chopin lullaby.
The guitar solo in Old Podrida's Run off the Road.
posted by pinochiette at 6:32 PM on June 10 [2 favorites]

Annie's Song, John Denver. We were playing YouTube roulette (take turns playing YouTube videos on the TV). I put it on and sang it to her and we had a real moment (enhanced by a shared love of the natural world)

Bloodstream, Stateless. One of her songs, but I played it a lot after we broke up. Words can be like knives...
posted by booooooze at 6:46 PM on June 10

Sweet Child of Mine, because he said it made him think of me once or twice when we were first dating. Various unromantic songs he introduced me to. Any sufficiently sappy love songs at all, if I'm in the right mood when they come on the radio.
posted by Lady Li at 7:09 PM on June 10

Home by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros

Ah, home, let me go home
Home is wherever I'm with you
Ah, home, let me go home
Home is wherever I'm with you
La, la, la, la, take me home

We got married and moved and moved and moved and moved for the first 11 years.

It is also sweet and a little old fashioned which we both like.
posted by aetg at 7:31 PM on June 10 [1 favorite]

“Prettiest Eyes,” by the Beautiful South. A couple of old lovers counting their wrinkles and reminiscing about how they came to be. When we were 23 and dating we fully expected to be old people together someday, still counting. I guess we’re sort of halfway to old, now.
posted by eirias at 7:33 PM on June 10

I would know aliens or pod-creatures had replaced biscotti if I heard her tap a spoon clean, etc etc, in any other way than to the rhythm of the theme from _The Terminator_. Soo... that.

Her answers would presumably be a long and woeful list of the crap songs I "improve" to be about our dogs or daily lives, which descend to depths as low as the theme from _The Munsters_ or "I Saw the Sign."
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 7:40 PM on June 10 [1 favorite]

Kate Bush, Never Be Mine.

" I look at you and see
My life that might have been
Your face just ghostly in the smoke
They're setting fire to the cornfields
As you're taking me home
The smell of burning fields
Will now mean you and here"
posted by jadepearl at 8:03 PM on June 10 [1 favorite]

The Love Cats! It's the Cure (a favorite) but also silly and also romantic, and also a bloody great baseline. There's a bit of a "just us, different from everyone else" flavor, and the perfect placement of the line "you know that I'd do anything for you." Used as the entrance music to our wedding reception.
posted by BlueBlueElectricBlue at 8:13 PM on June 10 [1 favorite]

[Several deleted; please note that the OP has asked for song and explanation of why for use in a fiction writing project. For other particulars, please take another look at the second and third paragraphs of the post. Thanks!]
posted by taz (staff) at 11:58 PM on June 10

Feels Like Home by Randy Newman, covered by many. It captures that safe, secure feeling that, if you're lucky, remains after the limerence wears off.

My Funny Valentine is similar, complete with little digs that would only be ok between people who share a solid love and regard for each other. Countless covers; Elvis Costello is the first one I ever heard so that's in the link. A friend with a crush included it in a mixtape for me in high school.
posted by headnsouth at 1:43 AM on June 11 [1 favorite]

Closer to You - The Wallflowers - first notable ex-boyfriend. This song was playing at the party when we had our very first kiss.

Fatalist Palmistry - Why? - second notable ex-boyfriend sent me this song in the very early phases of our relationship before we were even official and were just doing a lot of flirting. Even though that relationship is over and ended horribly, I still hear it and feel that rush of pure happiness and giddiness of being liked. To me, it's the most romantic song!

Nothing Can Change This Love - Sam Cooke - this was my wedding song. We heard it once at a restaurant while eating BBQ and remarked on how much we liked it, and when it came time to choose our first dance song, we just went with it.
posted by all about eevee at 4:57 AM on June 11

The Guess Who - New Mother Nature - because of the line,
"She hasn't got the faith or the guts to leave him and they're standing in each others' way",
which, with the genders reversed, was about right.
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 5:45 AM on June 11

The Scientist, Coldplay... It just brings up all the sad, empty despair and unresolved-ness that accompanies a breakup of a relationship that just. cannot. work. out. despite so much depth of feeling.

When you don't know what to say, you feel like you have to say something... ugh.

It's the epitome of showing the lameness of *words* as pretty much the only means available to express the expressible.

Nobody said it was easy
Oh it's such a shame for us to part
Nobody said it was easy
No one ever said it would be so hard
I'm going back to the start

posted by I_Love_Bananas at 6:41 AM on June 11 [1 favorite]

More Adventurous by Rilo Kiley. We have been together for over a decade and struggled with me not wanting to buy a house, him not wanting to get married, and me not wanting to have kids. The lyrics really paint a picture.

I been tryin' to nod my head, but it's like I've got a broken neck
Wanting to say "I will" as my last testament
For me to be saved and you to be brave
We don't have to walk down that aisle
'Cause if marriage ain't enough
Well, at least we'll be loved

posted by domo at 7:45 AM on June 11

"Handsome Brown-Eyed Man" reminds me of my husband because he is a handsome brown-eyed man, and also he sings this song to our babies and explains to them that he is a handsome brown-eyed man.
posted by millipede at 10:59 AM on June 11 [2 favorites]

You Belong To Me, the Bob Dylan version from Natural Born Killers. This was our wedding song, as suggested by my husband, which was so pleasantly surprising to me because he does not share in my love for Bob. And the beginning of this song is like nasally Bob times a thousand.

We appreciated the irony of having our wedding song come from NBK. And this song is indicative of our relationship. We aren’t always together - we have several individual interests & hobbies & friends - but I always know he’s here for me and vice-versa.
posted by lyssabee at 6:20 PM on June 11

This is pretty weird, but, “You Can Go Your Own Way” by Fleetwood Mac is mine. The lyrics are about a horrible breakup, but the music is expansive and driving and it makes me think of those early days with my now-husband when the world was wide open and exciting again because of him.

Damn it. He’s abroad right now and I need to hug him. :-(
posted by chainsofreedom at 5:04 AM on June 12

A few:

Nights On Broadway - The Bee Gees - basically because we laughed and laughed at the SNL Fallon/Timberlake skit. She got a record player for Christmas and I made sure to get a copy of that album to go with. All one of us has to do is sing “Heeeere we are....” and we both crack up. And others look at us and WONDER... :)

Afternoon Delight - Starland Vocal Band - I think this one is self explanatory. She claims she doesn’t like the tune but she smiles when it comes on.

And at one point, at an open mic we both performed Peter Frampton’s “Show Me The Way”. I played guitar, she played kazoo to replicate the talk box guitar part, and we both sang. We rocked it!
posted by kabong the wiser at 8:23 AM on June 13

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