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Top Five Songs on My Valentine's Day Playlist

Valentine’s Day, that grandest alloy of sexuality, affection, and materialist orgy that provokes some of the loneliest and saddest feelings of the year in at least 22% of us, might be the most Harvard holiday we celebrate. In order to help us all find some love (or at least some sincere emotion) this holiday, I hereby present the five most appropriate—though not necessarily best—songs on my killer Valentine’s Day Spotify playlist, which the tech wizards over at 14 Plympton Street have embedded in full at the bottom of this article.


5. “Valentine Day” by Paul McCartney
I mean, come on. “Valentine Day,” which shares a name with the damn holiday, is the ideal song to kick off this playlist. Paul McCartney plays every instrument on this multi-tempo jam from his first post-Beatles album. The homemade feel takes you to a place both intimate and far away, as do the lack of words. Let’s face it: Lyrics will probably make you sadder, so why have any at all?


4. “Blue Moon” by Billie Holiday
Dating back to 1934, “Blue Moon” is one of the first examples of modern pop, inspiring countless covers from iconic artists like Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, and Elvis. But none could match the relaxed bliss of Lady Day’s version. Holiday picks up the tempo and the mood for a “Blue Moon” that truly celebrates the narrator’s transformation from loneliness to exquisite romance. Plus, praying for the lunar spirit to grant you “someone [you] really could care for” sounds a lot less intimidating and more successful than asking your section crush for their number. If that strategy worked for Billie Holiday, The Crimson is proud to endorse it.

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3. “A Case of You” by Joni Mitchell
If you’re not in tears by the end of this song from Joni Mitchell’s acclaimed album “Blue,” get out of my face. Stop reading this article. Never open The Crimson’s website again. We don’t want you here. Aching melody, literary lyric, and a vocal performance swimming in vulnerability combine with Mitchell’s typically masterful guitar playing for a devastating masterpiece about a love painfully nearing its end. “A Case of You” impeccably captures the longing and disappointment we all know (right?) from stoplight parties in the Quad.


2. “Hannah Hunt” by Vampire Weekend
Despite their reputation for too-clever Ivy League lyrics, Vampire Weekend can speak to the heart with the best of them. “You and me, we got our own sense of time,” Ezra Koenig sings over an instrumental track of bass and piano that sounds like it’s submerged in water. “Hannah Hunt” is a reflection on a cross-country road trip with the titular girl, creating its own world for the narrator to discover love and intimately discuss his fears. A mid-song shift to harder pop transforms the chorus from hushed vulnerability to terror. Oh, sorry, is this tonally out of line? It’s a great song!


1. “Yellow” by Coldplay
Early Coldplay may not be the obvious choice for #1, but I’ll answer these doubts with a question: Doesn’t haughtiness toward Coldplay come from the same fear of earnest emotional exposure that has classically doomed romantic endeavors? Chris Martin’s lilting falsetto professes a love that encompasses the whole universe: “Look at the stars / Look how they shine for you.” But the song’s simplicity and anthemic riff bring it back down to earth. Unfortunately, the stadium-filling capabilities of “Yellow,” the most romantic track on their excellent debut album, would lead Coldplay down a road that has included “Hymn for the Weekend” and a Chainsmokers collaboration. If Valentine’s Day is the holiday to listen to this gorgeous ode to love, on what tragic day can we listen to “Something Just Like This” and mourn their descent?

(Author’s note: This playlist and the accompanying complex outlook on love date back to last year, when I was single. Now that I’ve found the perpetual bliss of going steady, I merely offer this playlist as a way for my lonelier friends to process all their feelings. Happy Valentine’s Day, Lauren!)

—Staff writer Trevor J. Levin can be reached at trevor.levin@thecrimson.com.

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