Billy Joel, “For the Longest Time”
I went to an Irish Catholic college, the student population of which basically canonized Billy Joel. But I won’t blame the Christian Brothers for my obsession with this song, or my parents, or Casey Kasum. I love me some goddamn Billy Joel, and I especially love this song. I kind of think “For the Longest Time” articulates the exact way I want to feel about someone someday. It’s confident and innocent and sort of cheesy, but so is calling someone “babe” so whatever.
Atlantic Starr, “Always”
“Always” is my parents’ wedding song. It’s over-the-top gooey and kind of makes me vomit in my mouth a little, but it’s nice to have parents who liked each other enough to pick a song that shamelessly oozes sentimentality. To their credit, their other “song” is “Moody’s Mood for Love,” which saves them from being crowned the corniest people on the planet.
Fruit Bats, “When U Love Somebody”
I have a lot of history with this song, but no breakup is poisonous enough to ruin it for me. It comes dangerously close to twee, but the simplicity of the lyrics remind me of “high school,” which is my way of saying something is really good, pure. Riding in cars with boys, making out, crushes, and Fruit Bats = straight high school. I think we’re capable of this blind hope in high school that fades with age. I’ll take any opportunity to revisit that state of mind, even if it’s only possible via a four minute song.
Counting Crows, “Anna Begins”
Something about this song stirs me. It’s uncomfortable and haunting and encompasses this really dark side of love that makes my stomach hurt. It’s sort of about falling for your friend via casual “friend sex” and not knowing what to do about it afterward. Truth to be told, I discovered it via an episode of Everwood, in which the lead character, Ephram, loses his virginity to his babysitter in a car. It was mega emotional.
The Beatles, “Real Love”
The Beatles have 8,329858 love songs to choose from, but “Real Love” has to be my favorite. If my Everwood reference up there didn’t out me as culturally bankrupt, this will: I cried when Adam Sandler covered “Real Love” in Funny People. I cried. It’s not the strongest song lyrically, but love is less about words and more about feelings. Duh.
Death Cab for Cutie, “Soul Meets Body”
This was THE love song my sophomore year of college. It was in every goddamn AIM profile on campus. It’s so cliché but like, guys… if you’re in love you just RELATE to this song. So brown eyes I hold you near/ ‘Cause you’re the only song I want to hear/ A melody softly soaring through my atmosphere? COME ON. This is how a broken, in-love brain thinks. (Ben, call me. I have huge eyes and bangs and a website, too.)
Coldplay, “Green Eyes”
I’ve never dated anyone with green eyes, but that didn’t stop me from ~relating~ to this song hard. It’s all about the gratitude you feel when you find your missing piece. The line that chokes me up is, “Anyone who tried to deny you must be out of their mind” because don’t we always feel that way about the person we love? Like, how are you even dating me right now? It’s difficult to pick one pussy ass Coldplay song for this list, but the general consensus among my friends who’ve survived college dating is that this is the be all, end all of emo undergrad relationships.
The Hollies, “The Air That I Breathe”
Obviously it’s psychosomatic, but I sort of have troubling breathing whenever this song comes on. It is definitely possible, at times, to feel like your purpose in life is loving someone else; like you could lose your job and your material possessions and your hair, but as long as you can continue loving that one person you’re good. Of course that’s a completely implausible way to live or feel 24-7, but it’s nice to pretend sometimes.