Dr. Love’s Songs for Valentine’s Day

OK, with the last name “Love,” there are certain kinds of things expected of you. Even more when you are Dr. Love. Being a theologian is a good way to go if this is your name, but I’ve been thinking about ways to expand my brand. So, of course Valentine’s Day makes a certain amount of sense. Surely a guy named Dr. Love would be able to provide a little something-something extra special.

Sadly, what I have going for me here is mostly a name. I can’t really offer any advice. But I do listen to a lot of music and everyone sings about love. So, here’s my Valentine’s Day playlist. Twelve songs designed to get you, um, attention.

You need some classics, some standards. You can’t leave the impression that you’ve invented love. You stand in a tradition. But you do need some new songs–something that would suggest that you’re still stretching and growing as a person, and if you can’t point to anything like that in your actual life, a new song helps. And there should also be a mix of definitions of love. You want some eros here. It is Valentine’s Day. But you need some no “matter what happens I’ll love you” songs as well. So, here goes.

1. Let’s Stay Together. We’ll start with the Minister of Love, the Rev. Al Green. “I-I-I, I’m so-o in love with you…” You are in the game, Valentine.

2. “These Arms of Mine.” You have to stay in the genre. Otis Redding. You’ve set the bar pretty high. The temptation here would be to go for the kill with the next song. Follow Otis with Marvin Gaye or Barry White. But you don’t have that kind of game. So, let’s pull it back just a bit.

3. Kingdom Come. You can’t go wrong with Coldplay. And this is one of those “my love is real no matter what” songs.

4. Something. Maybe the best Beatles song ever, and not a McCartney-Lennon tune. A George Harrison song. But let’s switch it up here. Let’s use the McCartney, Eric Clapton cover performed at the Concert for George on the one year anniversary of his death. McCartney starts on a ukelele. Full band at the end with Clapton singing lead, McCartney the high harmony. Dude.

5. More Than You Know. Let’s stay with the Ukelele and go with a new song. Eddie Vedder. He needs her more than she knows. You can appear vulnerable and transparent. And its Eddie Vedder.

6. Into My Arms. We’ll stay with the husky voice. Nick Cave. It’s a risky choice, but one that shows you might have some depth. And the lyrics, the lyrics, the lyrics. Dang. Great song.

7. Make You Feel My Love. Speaking of lyrics “I’d go hungry, I’d go black and blue, I’d go crawling down the avenue, there’s nothing that I wouldn’t do, to make you feel my love.” Now, the safe choice here is to go with Adele’s cover. But you might want to learn some things on Valentine’s day too. Is it always going to take flowers and chocolate? You might want to go with the original, the great Bob Dylan. Of course, this might end the relationship. Move on, friend. You’re better off.

8. Still. Let’s stay with great lyrics. And this is a beautiful song. Elvis Costello can write a love song. If she’s still there after Dylan, you’ve assured her that you’re not crazy by going with this Elvis tune.

9. Little Did I Know. We’ll stay smooth with Over the Rhine. And if you’re the guy who introduces her to OTR, max points.

10. One. Unusual choice here, perhaps. But we’re going with the new Damien Rice cover. And you want these lyrics somewhere: “We’re one, but we’re not the same. We get to carry each other, carry each other.” Because ultimately, if this isn’t the definition of love you’re working with, you’re toast.

11. Every Morning. Keb Mo. I love this song, and Keb Mo will be a surprising choice. You’re right where you want to be. Love is everyday. But Keb Mo makes it sexy.

12. Howlin’ for You. Because every woman wants to think of her man howlin’. I don’t care what they say. Of course they can’t admit it. And you get to end with the Black Keys. A little love to yourself, Valentine.

Yeah, I probably have no future here. Maybe a card and some flowers.

About Mark Love

I am the Director of the Resource Center for Missional Leadership at Rochester College. Part of my job includes directing a master's degree in missional leadership, a situated learning degree. I am married to Donna and have a son, Josh Love, who lives in Portland, OR. With Donna, I have also inherited three great daughters and three amazing granddaughters.
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7 Responses to Dr. Love’s Songs for Valentine’s Day

  1. happytheman says:

    great list, get to see OTR on Sunday @ Cactus Cafe. Love Steve Earle’s “Every Part of Me” a great song from a guy who has been married seven times and finally has figured it out.

  2. kevink says:

    Great post and thanks for the suggestions!! Too bad we’re spending the evening eith Dave Ramsey learning how to climb out of the debt LOVE got us into!!

  3. Susan Mitchell says:

    Thanks for the recommendations, Dr. Love. I can’t help but think I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) has to have a place on a Val Day lineup. My husband would die before he played this song, but I think it’s the most manly romantic song ever. On the other hand, I still haven’t found an adequate definition of haver/havering.

  4. Sara Barton says:

    The love song we love is Billy Joel’s “I love you just the way you are.” I cry (good cry) every time I hear it. My kids make fun of me and tell me it’s in Shrek.

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