Love is in the Archives: 5 Essential Songs for Your Valentine's Day Soundtrack
Words by KC Orcutt
For centuries, groups of people from around the world and from a variety of cultures have tied February 14th to love, and while the traditions surrounding the holiday have changed or evolved over time, Valentine's Day continues to thrive. From countless movies and television shows navigating the occasion in both hilarious and heartfelt scenes to artists from all genres and generations looking to love for inspiration musically, there is much to talk about when it comes to the curious sensation known as love.
Love is both timeless and transcendental, full of potential to hit you smack dab in the middle of your feelings at any given moment in time. In addition to the many different forms that love can take, ranging from self-love to romantic love to platonic love and everything in between, the powerful emotion also has the ability to be quite transportive. This quality is further amplified by music, making Valentine's Day as much about chocolate and feel-good gestures as it is about perfecting the soundtrack for the notorious holiday. Music has the power to serve as a time portal, bringing you back into your fondest memories and serving as a reminder of the healing capabilities of the intense emotion known as love.
For music lovers and hopeless romantics alike, many of whom are often one and the same, putting on a record that explores the multifaceted nature of love is a brilliant and easy way to connect with one another. As the famed expressionist painter Jackson Pollock once exclaimed, "Love is friendship set to music." In other words, music helps bring a little bit more color to every relationship, regardless of the style or depth. Celebrating these bonds is an important part of the human experience, as is mourning the changing complexities of them too. Whether you're in the mood to honor love in all its wonder or get over a broken heart, music is always a reliable elixir to help make sense of the non-sensical.
Here at APM Music, we'd like to raise our glass to the dynamism of love and do so in the best way we know how: by taking a deep-dive into the archives and sharing the music that moves us the most. Take a look at 5 essential tracks for your Valentine's Day soundtrack below.
"Oh Yes Baby I Love You So"
This gem of a track, composed by Ervin Litkei and Lenny Curtis, embodies love in several ways, from the adventurous sense of a night out on the town to honing the limitless potential of where a particular feeling can take you. "Oh Yes Baby I Love You So" brings listeners back to the 1960s Detroit, where the distinctive Motown sound reigned supreme. From a bassline reminiscent of the way the legendary James Jamerson played to the classic feel that a tambourine on the backbeat brings, this track exudes all things "date night," full of excitement and anticipation for blossoming, yet destined, soulful love.
"Should I Even Tell Her"
With a title track that echoes the thoughts of many hesitant folks under the spell of love, this song composed by James Muske evokes a sense of "wonder" and "what if." Putting your heart on your sleeve is no easy choice to make, but as this vocalist expresses as this classic 1960s folk song progresses, keeping an open mind and open heart is the best way to go. As the energy behind this track moves from nervous to excited, horns come in and the strumming of the guitar grows faster, helping create a dynamic feel of possibility. With psychedelic sequences and spontaneous changes in rhythm, this song takes you on a journey, which after all, is what love is all about.
"I Tried Not To Cry"
With vocals from singer Pat Greco the centerpiece of this impassioned song, "I Tried Not To Cry" serves as a reminder of the emotional power of music, creating a fitting backdrop for when a person is really going through it. With staccato guitar and light drums, this track, composed by C. Levitan, is both catchy and dramatic, showcasing raw emotion that can only be found in the truth depths of the heart. The call and response style between the main vocalist and backup vocalists help create character, making this song a great addition to montage scenes or those that are reflective of the complexities of a break-up or missed opportunity. With a transportive quality that brings the listener right into the 1950s, the spirit of this archival track is a mirror to the relatable and unrelenting feeling that the heart wants what it wants. Sometimes the most therapeutic practice of all is simply letting the tears fall, and there's no shame in that.
"I Hold The World In My Arms"
This song, composed by Martin Kalmanoff, is a perfect time capsule. With a full orchestra and a poignant male vocalist, "I Hold The World In My Arms" is exactly the type of anthem one would expect to be playing in a classic Italian restaurant. Reminiscent of a previous time, this song is a sentimental, elegant and noble testament to love, community and perseverance. Full of romantic lyrical themes and empowering melodic accompaniment, "I Hold The World In My Arms" is a tried and true love song, one that can be celebrated and enjoyed universally.
"The Touch Of You"
Rounding out our Valentine's Day selections is a song from the Soho Archive that swirls up emotions of the past and explores themes of romantic longing. While the track's lyrics could be interoperated as melancholic, the instrumentation gives the song a hopeful feel, transporting audiences into a classic 1950s diner where introspective thrives. The familiarity of do wop helps give this song its timeless flair, full of twangy guitar, saxophone and backing vocals that give an added texture to the chorus. Typical of the era, this composition, by Andrea and Ervin Litkei, is written in a 12/8 signature, showcasing the authenticity of early 1950s/1960s rock and roll. As a ballad that stands the test of time, "The Touch of You" brings a breath of fresh air into the picture, perfect for throwback scenes and theatrical moments alike.
For more warm and quirky romantic songs from yesteryear, please visit APM Music’s 2021 Valentine’s Day playlist here.