Lifestyle’s weekly Spotify playlist #73


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The Spotify logo on a computer with hearts in the background.

By Northern Star Staff

This week, the weekly Spotify playlist took a bit of a turn. In honor of Valentine’s Day, each writer selected their favorite love songs.



Nick’s picks

  1. Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong – “Cheek To Cheek”
  2. Boyz II Men – “I’ll Make Love To You”
  3. Prince – “I Wanna Be Your Lover”

Louis Armstrong’s classic hoarse and almost comical voice is at its best in this collaboration with jazz legend Ella Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald’s vocals feature her standard mix of technical prowess and emotional bliss. The simple piano backing gives each singer’s voice room to develop the love that they are singing about. “Cheek To Cheek” is an absolute classic, and it’s been a staple of first dance songs for as long as I can remember. The song features what is essentially a who’s who in jazz musicians of the time: Oscar Peterson on piano, Herb Ellis on guitar, Ray Brown on bass and Buddy Rich on drums. The song stands out both as a peak romantic song but also as the epitome of early jazz. 

Boyz II Men are pure sex. I normally don’t write about this aspect of music, but, screw it, it’s Valentine’s Day – “I’ll Make Love To You” is sexy as all get out. One of the group’s biggest hits, the song hits on all the reasons why. The chorus is where it stands out. The group’s strong voices are so clear. The simple drums are accented by a booming snare drum which highlights the hits of the song. The bass is typically soft and smooth, but every so often it speaks through the mix. Every couple of months, I return to Boyz II Men and listen and fall in love with them again. I hope you find love with them as well. 

“I Wanna Be Your Lover” is wonderful. Its twinkling, rhythmic guitars combine with Prince’s vocals in a way that makes me smile. Prince’s musical genius shows on this track. Every instrument is played by Prince and he is so skilled at each of them that you would think that each instrument is played by a virtuoso. When it comes to the lyrics, they are pretty simple. Romantic and lovely, Prince, in his high-pitched falsetto, sings “I wanna be your lover / I wanna be the only one that makes you come … running.” 

 Sarah’s picks

  1. Ruelle – “Carry You”
  2. G-Easy, Halsey – “Him & I (with Halsey)”
  3. Jaymes Young – “Infinity”

It’s safe to say that Ruelle is a mastermind when it comes to poetic and emotional songwriting. “Carry You” is about someone going through a rough patch mentally and who can’t find the will to keep going. In the chorus lyrics, “You are not alone / I’ve been here the whole time / Singing you a song, ooooh / I will carry you,” Ruelle is singing to this person, saying that she loves them and is here for them. It’s also a good reminder for listeners who are also going through something to be reminded that someone else loves and supports them. 

“Him & I” is essentially a song about two people who are crazy in love with each other. At the time it was written, G-Easy and Halsey were dating, which makes the lyrics seem more real and honest. The lyrics, “But, what the fuck is love with no pain, no suffer? / Intense, this shit, it gets dense” highlight that being in love is not all puppies and rainbows. It takes work to maintain a relationship, and there will be ups and downs. Ironically, given how much both Halsey and G-Easy sing about never cheating on each other, G-Easy ended up cheating on Halsey in real life, which ended their relationship. 

For another crazy love song, Jaymes Young professes his love profusely in his song “Infinity.” Throughout the song, Young describes how his lover has made him feel, and how he will do anything for them. The lyrics, “Oh, darling my soul, / You know it aches for yours / And you’ve been filling this hole / Since you were born, oh” indicate that Young believes him and his lover were chosen at birth to be together. In other words, they were destined to fall in love, and will love each other till death parts them. Although, with the way Young describes his feelings for this person, you could say that not even death will break their love. 

Angelina’s picks 

  1.   Taylor Swift – “Invisible String” 
  2.   Randy Travis – “Forever and Ever, Amen” 
  3.   Huey Lewis & The News – “The Power of Love” 

Featured on Swift’s album “Folklore,” “Invisible String” illustrates what it might be like for two soulmates, like a single thread of gold tying them together for better or for worse. They are two people who somehow find their way together, and learn all the circumstances that pushed them together as if they were always meant to meet. “Isn’t it just so pretty to think, all along there was some invisible string tying you to me,” echoes the chorus. 

In the Christian community, many people end their prayers by saying “forever and ever, amen” as a way of expressing their devotion. Country singer Randy Travis took this phrase and adapted it to the devotion one can have to their significant other. Throughout the song, he explains that it isn’t his woman’s hair or her youth that holds his attention, but simply her. Travis promises to love her for, “As long as old men sit and talk about the weather / As long as old women sit and talk about old men.” 

“The Power of Love” by Huey Lewis & The News was written for the 1985 film “Back to the Future.” Lewis strapped on a Walkman, went for a jog and wrote the song on that run. “‘The Power of Love’ is very powerful, more powerful than we realized,” Lewis told RollingStone. “And as we get older, it’s really the most important emotion we have. Love really does make the world go around. You look at this crazy world with all these people, and you think, ‘How does this work?’ Love, it has to be love.” 

Brynn’s picks

  1. The Beatles – “She Loves You”
  2. Mitski – “Francis Forever”
  3. Mac DeMarco – “Heart to Heart”

“She Loves You” is a fun, upbeat song about being loved. It has a quicker pace, drums, guitar and repetitive layered vocals. This makes this song seem very joyful and like something you can dance to. The lyrics of the song are a celebration of being loved. It describes how a person has a girl who is in love with them and how “you know that can’t be bad.” 

While “Francis Forever” is also about being in love, it is not as happy tonally. The song carries a sense of longing instead. Mitski describes how she is so in love with a person that she can’t stand to be without them or in their presence. This is shown in the lyric “I don’t think I could stand to be where you don’t see me.” Mitski is so attached to this person that she is always thinking of them, longing for them and missing them. Mitski’s emotional vocals layer perfectly over the soft drums and bass line which only add to this feeling.

“Heart to Heart” is another sadder song. The lyrics romanticize the connection of a relationship and the emotional impact that it has. It repeats the lyric “heart to heart” throughout the song to emphasize how it is about the heartfelt connection between two people. The song’s pace is slower and the vocals are very mellow. DeMarco’s voice is soft and reminiscent throughout. What makes this song unique is it is unclear whether or not the relationship being sung about has ended. It is not important whether the relationship exists in the past or the present, but rather that it happened at all. DeMarco is describing how what is most important in a relationship is the love that you feel and the time that you got to spend together.

Eli’s Picks

  1. Lou Reed – “Perfect Day”
  2. Silver Jews – “Tennessee”
  3. Bob Dylan – “Make You Feel My Love”

Despite being frequently interpreted as being his heroin addiction, Lou Reed insisted that it was just a simple love song. In a 2000 radio interview, Reed said, “This guy’s vision of a perfect day was the girl, sangria in the park, and then you go home; a perfect day, real simple. I meant just what I said.” If Reed did in fact mean just what he said, that makes “Perfect Day” the perfect song for Valentine’s Day. While many love songs are melodramatically emotional, Reed was simply talking about the joy the narrator found in the little, day-to-day moments with his girlfriend. Very few songs focus on these little moments, but in my opinion, those are what true love is all about. 

“Tennessee” is a duet between David Berman, the lead singer of the Silver Jews, and his wife Cassie. The song is about a couple starting a new life together in Nashville and leaving their old lives behind. Berman was also a renowned poet, which made him an excellent lyricist. With lyrics like “We’re gonna live in Nashville and I’ll make a career / Out of writing sad songs and gettin’ paid by the tear,” Berman portrays the idealized romance and excitement of starting a new life with a partner. Berman is alluding to the concept of the tortured artist as well as Nashville’s thriving country music scene. This is a song celebrating new beginnings and the flurry of complex emotions that come with them. 

Adele’s cover of “Make You Feel My Love” may be more popular but in my opinion, it doesn’t get much better than Bob Dylan’s original version. This song is uncharacteristic for the notoriously cryptic Dylan. On “Make You Feel My Love,” Dylan opts for a straightforward, honest expression of emotions, rather than hiding behind the many layers of impenetrable symbolism that are present on his other love songs like “Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands.” This song was released in 1997 when Dylan’s voice was far past its prime, but I think the roughness of his vocals only adds to the track’s honesty. 

Lucy’s Picks

  1. Berlin – “Take My Breath Away” 
  2. Ben. E. King – “Stand By Me”
  3. JVKE – “Golden Hour”

Originally created for the Tom Cruise classic “Top Gun,” this song remains one of the most iconic love songs created today. With a hopelessly dramatic yet undeniably addictive flavor, “Take My Breath Away” illustrates the powerful emotions attached to any passionate love affair. (Classic ‘80s style, and we all know we love it.) From personal experience, I can confirm this is also a spectacular tune to belt out uncontrollably during a nighttime car ride. There’s simply no escaping it; in one way or another, Berlin’s iconic ballad takes everyone’s breath away. 

With its acoustic strumming and loveable lyrics, “Stand By Me” is as simply pleasing as it is nostalgic. However, what makes this song extra special is that, for many, it does not only apply to romantic love. The sentiments King’s ‘60s classic reveres are those we share with our partners, but also our longtime friends and family members, even our pets! Who’s to tell you the comfort your iguana brings in times of sorrow isn’t worth honoring? Most assuredly not King. 

Released only in 2022, “Golden Hour” effortlessly brings to life the essence of young, modern love in a stunning performance by its recently-blooming artist. The imagery in this piece never lacks, from “pink and orange skies” to “glitter for skin,” making the song, in some sense, both audibly and visually beautiful. The sweet birdsong that trickles in behind the track is another sparkling element of note. Perhaps there’s nothing more romantic, after all, than nature’s most original love songs. 

Caleb’s Picks

  1. Steve Grand – “Stay” 
  2. Joey Graceffa – “Don’t Wait” 
  3. VINCINT – “Mine” 

Released in 2015 as a part of Steve Grand’s first album “All American Boy,” the song “Stay” is about sweet summer daydreams of love by a young gay man. In the song, Grand sings to his love interest and wants nothing more than for him to stay the night with him. “So when my old man’s out of town but a couple days / I think that you should stay / Oh, won’t you stay?” I really love the slow, steady beat that gets you into Grand’s mindset. You can feel the longing and hopefulness in the music. 

“Don’t Wait” is a single released in 2015 by YouTuber and musical artist Joey Graceffa. For me the song is so powerful and very relatable. This song is also important as it marks Graceffa’s journey of coming out as a gay man. At the end of his “Don’t Wait” music video, Graceffa discusses how important this song is to him and that he hopes it can help others going through similar issues feel like they are not alone. As one lyric reads, “Don’t wait for the world to be ready.” For me the message is clear: You are beautiful just the way you are and you don’t need the approval of others to thrive and be happy. 

“Mine” is a single released in 2018 by musical artist VINCINT. A beautiful song, it is a delightful ditty full of pop beats and high notes. In an interview with Out Magazine, VINCINT said, “The song is for the romantics too afraid to shout their love from the rooftops.” This really highlights the essence of the song. The lyrics themselves really help you feel the heat: “Tell me I’m wrong, you feel it too / This electricity when I’m close to you.” In the end, I really enjoyed how the song all comes together and shows the beauty of love between two men.