Valentine’s Day is fast approaching with couples, singles, friends and families planning their activities for the weekend. Whether February 14th is just another day or a chance to show those you love just how much you appreciate them, the Grok music team have compiled a list of their favourite romantic (and anti-romantic) songs to soundtrack your Valentine’s.
‘Adore’ – Amy Shark
The breakout hit that launched Amy Shark’s career in 2016, Adore captivated listeners with the emotive lyrics that explored those nostalgic and raw feelings of your first infatuation. Her lyrics have become incredibly relatable to so many listeners, making her an Australian household name. Shark went on to take out the #2 spot in the 2016 Triple J’s Hottest 100 and the single has since reached 5 x Platinum certificates in Australia. Listening to this track, I feel like a proud parent that’s watched Shark grow from strength to strength, from her grassroots origins as a songwriter to international sensation. The track is no less relatable and addictive now as it was in 2016 and is a proud Australian addition to this list.
‘Afire Love’ – Ed Sheeran
This track is one of the most honest musical pieces released in the 2010s. It is the purest form of ballad that is heavily driven by piano. With ‘Afire Love’, Sheeran takes us on a heartbreaking journey about how his grandfather battled with Alzheimer disease and its saddening impact on his family. Though a song filled with heavy emotion, it is undeniably a groove that you cannot help but sing along to during the bridge, “and my father and all of my family, rise from their seats to sing, hallelujah”. This makes one appreciate and understand the deep love Sheeran and his family had for his grandfather, with them also praising God for him being in their lives. Sheeran also makes a perfect execution with heavy lyrics that touch on life, death, love, sadness, and family. He also speaks about how in the end, families would come together as one regardless of any fights or feuds to reunite after the death of a loved one.
‘Bruises’– Lewis Capaldi
An overwhelming and memorable song that hits you hard from the first listen, Capaldi’s piano-based ballad, Bruises, is filled with extreme emotion and sentiment. Every element of the track works perfectly well in sharing the feelings of Capaldi. According to Capaldi, Bruises is a song that is more about missing someone that you were involved with when things didn’t work out, rather than a song of heartbreak. He sings about the desire of “holding on” to what he loves most about his previous relationship and how he never wishes to, “lose the bruises that have been left behind,” by his former lover.
‘Cupid’s Chokehold / Breakfast In America’ – Gym Class Heroes
This iconic alternative hip-hop song that combines elements of both rap and rock may not be the first track that comes to mind when creating a playlist for Valentine’s Day. The song is quite sarcastic in its lyrics, mocking the idea of ‘love’ and how someone can become so easily smitten over another’s simple acts of kindness, even if in reality they are not all that special. Although this song presents a rather bleak outlook on love and relationships, it is a change from the often repetitive slow-love ballads and its upbeat tune will be sure to make you want to get up and groove.
‘Laps Around The Sun’ – Ziggy Alberts
Having fallen in love with independent singer-songwriter, Ziggy Alberts’ sound in 2014 with his Land and Sea album, the title track from his 2018 ‘Laps Around The Sun’ album just had to be included on this list. An introspective track, Alberts weaves a story of moving through one relationship into the other, about discovery and meeting the right person. His heart-warming and honest lyrics captivate from the first line as he asks, “Do you see the ways we have grown apart?”. A perfect track to celebrate the complex nuances of love and appreciating relationships, this slow acoustic folk song is a perfect Valentine’s day playlist addition.
‘Let it Go’ – Summer Walker
There is something about the strings of guitars that automatically makes you fall in love with a track from the first few seconds. Alongside the acoustic guitar comes a subtle programmed percussion with Walker’s vocals. Let it go is a perfect blend of live instrumentation and smooth R&B, showing a more mature side of Walker’s music. In this track, she asks her partner why he has changed all of a sudden after all the praises she gave him. Discovering what love really is through a tough ordeal, Walker takes audiences on a journey of acceptance and reflection. She preaches to everyone that, “when you have something, you treat it good”.
‘Love Me Now’ – John Legend
A new type of sound from R&B star John Legend unearthed in Love Me Now. It opens up with a clunking piano and like the first few words of the lyrics, it “pulls you further” due to the fact that the track sounds like a mellow dance song which will fit perfectly for weddings or any romantic gathering. Legend’s vocals are excellent, and the fact that he doesn’t try so hard to be perfect is captivating and haunting. You can tell he is bold, truthful and knows what he wants. In this track, he speaks to his lover and talks about how they should live in the moment, make memories and embrace love because no one knows tomorrow.
‘Miracle Love’ – Matt Corby
Nobody quite does music for the soul like Matt Corby. Off his 2018 ‘Rainbow Valley’ album comes Miracle Love, a captivating track that showcases his incredible, rich vocals and bittersweet lyrics that sweep audiences away. The song acknowledges the fact that everyone has their own differences and perspectives, and that we can often show contempt for things on a regular basis that is outside our perspective, causing friction in both relationships and between vast groups of people. Trying to walk that fine line between cheesy and meaningful commentary, Corby has crafted a monumental and extrospective track that celebrates love and acceptance in all its forms for all.
‘Read All About It, Pt. III’ – Emeli Sande
Firstly, most songs that have many versions never sound better than the first one. But with this track, the production is excellent. The 5-minute track has given Sande the opportunity to artfully express her message and lets audiences fully appreciate the crafted story. This song is all about hope, standing out, knowing what to do, what you want, and going for it with no regrets. Sande sings, “I wanna sing, I wanna shout”, and she wants everybody to know this, so “they can put it in all of the papers”. She wants everyone to know her story, a story of self-love and an appreciation of what she has to bring to the table. She is not afraid anymore and one can feel it when she sings with the great voice she has finally found. With this track, she talks about how one can achieve whatever they put their mind on, as long as they are confident and have self-love.
‘Riptide’ – Vance Joy
Ahh yes, those much-loved ukulele strings. Australia’s favourite curly-haired, red-headed singer/songwriter captivated the world with Riptide in 2014. The happy, upbeat folk-pop song has now surpassed over 1 million streams on Spotify, and for good reason. This track is a beautiful union of memorable rhythms and honest lyrics you can’t help but belt out. Exploring love and the feelings of fear you get with relationships; Joy has crafted a timeless classic that will be enjoyed by audiences of all ages for many years to come. Whether Valentine’s day is spent with your S.O., friends or family, it’s a guarantee that somebody deserves to be called, “the closest thing to Michelle Pfeiffer that you’ve ever seen”.