November 23, 2013

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The Perfect Valentine’s Day Playlist, by Ben Kweller

I have loved Ben Kweller‘s music ever since he was a teenage rock wunderkind in the 90′s alterna-band, Radish. Last week he released his fifth album, Changing Horses (ATO), a country-tinged romp through 10 heartfelt songs, sung without an ounce of irony — probably my favorite quality about him. (Watch the video for his single “Fight” at the end of the post! It’s a darn tootin’ catchy song.)

One more thing about Ben — he is incredibly sweet and oh so romantic! In honor of Valentine’s Day, we knew there was no one better to share his favorite love songs of all-time. Listen to these tunes and your pheremones will go bonkers:

1. Girl From The Northern Country” – Bob Dylan – The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan
This song always reminds me of a certain night about 10 years ago when I was away from my new love at the time. Now my wife, Lizzy, is my girl from the Northern Country… This song makes me cry.

2. Silver & Gold” – Neil Young – Silver & Gold
This is a great love song by Neil. It’s the title track of one of his best albums and most people don’t even know the album! You should go find a copy if you don’t already have one. Full of wonderful tunes.

3. In My Life” – Beatles - Rubber Soul
Classic John Lennon… What else can I say?

4. Thirteen” – Ben Kweller – Ben Kweller
I have to include this as one of my favorite love songs because it’s all about my love! No other song could be as personal. People often ask why it’s called “Thirteen.” I’ll tell you! 13 has always been a lucky number for me. Liz’s birthday is a 13th, our anniversary too. The weirdest part is this: I played the song a bunch in the studio trying to get the right take. When I went in to listen back I picked my favorite take. A few minutes later, we found out it was the 13th take I did! One of those meant to be moments…

5. Insider” – Tom Petty – Hard Promises
Wow. What a song. Duet with Stevie Nicks — beautiful. One of the most powerful things in the world is to know someone better than anyone else ever could, to know every secret and every failure, to ride along side through all the twists and turns, to be an insider.

6. The First Day of My Life” – Bright Eyes – I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning
That’s what it’s like. The first day of your life is what love does. Nothing else matters. You start fresh. Your lover makes you brand new. Conor’s lyrics are like no other and his delivery will kill you… the tears come pouring out.

7. Sorry Signs On Cash Machines” – Mason Jennings – Century Spring
This is one of the best love songs that more people should know. Mason is one of the best writers out there today.

8. Forever” – Beach Boys – Sunflower
One of the greatest love songs by the Beach Boys is not by Brian or Carl, it’s by Dennis, the drummer. He was the real Beach Boy — the heart throb, the only one who could actually surf. This song is just beautiful, he sounds so sad and worn out. Friends of mine who knew him say he was in pretty bad shape around this time (1970) and kind of went down hill til he drowned in the Pacific Ocean… tragic. This song is a beautiful way to remember him.

9. My Girl” – Temptations – The Temptations Sing Smokey
Hot damn! This has to be the best love song ever… with the best vocal group singing it no less. I mean it’s perfect!

10. So Far Away” – Carole King – Tapestry
When it comes to picking love songs it’s hard to leave out the writing of Carole King. This entire album is packed with classic lovers… “So Far Away” is one of my total faves because it’s got a real yearning to it. I certainly know well the feeling of being far away from my lover. Not fun, especially on Valentine’s Day.

11. No Woman No Cry (Live)” – Bob Marley – Legend
I had to put this in there! I mean, this man knew love. He was love. He certainly knew to how to make a song out of it.

P.S. Get a copy of It Could Happen To You by Chet Baker… I couldn’t pick just one song! It’s the perfect V-day gift/make-out album! ENJOY!!!

(Thanks, Ben!)

Photo Courtesy of ATO Records