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I’m feeling kind of schmoopsy this Valentine’s Day. It’s my and Jeff’s first married one, and we’re going to dinner at the same restaurant we had V-day dinner at four years ago, less than two months after we met.

Granted, the day has never been one to bring me rage or make me roll my eyes. Call it a Hallmark holiday if you like, or a day for single people to feel grumpy — I’ve always found it sweet, even as a single girl. I typically send my friends something little (this year, I actually sent out, like, a dozen-plus cards) and find the sentiment of the day sweet.

So to “celebrate” on Curious Jac, I giving a top list of my favorite love songs. It’s certainly not an exhaustive list, but each of these has affected me in some way, at some point. (Click on the links to see videos.) In no particular order:

  1. “On Bended Knee.” Oh, my very first “song” with my very first “boyfriend.” We were in sixth grade and loving on Boyz II Men. We were young, but smart enough to realize that the group’s other big hit in 1996, “I’ll Make Love To You,” was a wildly inappropriate song for two 12-year-olds. So we choose the breakup song, which ended up being kind of poignant through all the break up-get back together-break up-get back together years. But the song still makes me smile. (Be sure you  watch the video. That is straight-up Lisa Turtle.) Best line: “You gotta believe in the spirit of love. It’ll heal all things. You won’t hurt anymore.” (And as you sing this, you need to clasp your fists close to your face and get louder with each line so you’re all but shouting by the end.)
  2. “Chasing Cars.” The sentiment is lovely, the idea that happiness is simply spending time together, wasting time, laying together, being in one another’s presence. Best line: “Those three words are said too much. They’re not enough.”
  3. “Careless Whisper.” Do not judge me my George Michael love! The sax line here is perfect, and there is no song on this list I’d rather have a sing along with, at the top of my lungs, no matter who is around. Best line: “There’s no comfort in the truth. Pain is all your find.” (Again, SHOUT that second line.)
  4. “To Make You Feel My Love.” I don’t care what you say, Billy Joel’s version is the best. (Adele’s is a distant second. Garth Brooks doesn’t rank because country.) This was one of my favorite songs in high school, and when Jeff and I were deciding what to use for our first dance song, my mom said, “I can’t believe you won’t use ‘To Make You Feel My Love.” Oh. Duh. I played it for Jeff, he teared up, we had a winner. Best lines: “I’ve known it from the moment that we met. No doubt in my mind where you belong.” “The winds of change are blowing wild and free. You ain’t seen nothing like me yet.”
  5. “Wildflowers.” I never heard this Tom Petty ditty until Jeff put it on a mixed CD for me a few years back. I love a man with a simple guitar line singing sweetly. My first listen made me tear up. Best line: “You belong somewhere you feel free.”
  6. “The Book of Love.” Again, the first time I heard this, tears. I stopped dead in my apartment, dust rag in hand, and just started sobbing like an idiot. Best line: “The book of love is long and boring and written very long ago. It’s full of flowers and heart-shaped boxes and things we’re all too young to know.” Just typing those last seven words gives me chills.
  7. John Mayer breakup songs. There are too many that affected my guts over the years to choose one. And sometimes a breakup song can be so much more poignant than a traditional puppy-dogs-and-butterflies tune. “I Don’t Trust Myself (With Loving You),” “I’m Gonna Find Another You,” “Slow Dancing in a Burning Room,” “Split-Screen Sadness.” Best line: “So I’ll check the weather wherever you are ’cause I wanna know if you can see the stars tonight. It might be my only right.” (from “Split-Screen Sadness)
  8. “After an Afternoon.” You know, I lied. These aren’t in any order, but this is my No. 1 favorite. Leave it to Jason Mraz to be better than everyone else. Like “Wildflowers,” we have just a man and his guitar. It doesn’t follow a traditional verse-chorus-verse format, which makes it sound more like a love letter. Best line: “Your rich brown eyes, your lips, and your dark hair, elbows, and exposed knees tossing toward your ceiling as we lay in bed.”

Share your favorite love songs with me as I raise my wine glass and toast you: Happy Valentine’s day, friend!

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