Tunesday: Odd love songs

The day of St. Valentine has come and gone — and with it brings sales on Valentine’s Day chocolates and romantic playlists that are tired and maybe a bit droll. If you’ve exhausted your catalog of old Valentine’s Day standbys (or merely looking to broaden your horizon of love songs beyond Sinatra and Buble), look no further. We’ve got you covered with this Tunesday — a myriad of love songs that are just a tiny bit unexpected.

“Hot Knife” by Fiona Apple

Famed iconoclast Fiona Apple reared her head in 2012 with the beloved The Idler Wheel…. Apple caps off her critically acclaimed comeback with “Hot Knife,” a song as visceral and brutal as it is sensual and intimate. With layered, acapella vocals with only an insistent, almost hostile drum beat as its companion, “Hot Knife” feels like it’s on the verge of imploding at any moment. But when the piano kicks in midway through, it feels invincible — like two lovers too far in the deep end.

“Sure Thing” by Miguel

Miguel may have reached sex-god status with the release of the sultry Wildheart, but as a fledgling R&B talent on his debut album, his proclivities for romance needed some work. “Love you like a brother / treat you like a friend” is probably not a couplet you’d want to croon heartily to a significant other. But Miguel’s so earnest in his adoration throughout “Sure Thing” that it works out anyway. It’s so charmingly innocent and his honesty so alarmingly direct, that “Sure Thing” ends up reading like a schoolboy’s first love letter to a crush.

“I Won” by Future and Kanye West

Two of rap’s most volatile masterminds collaborate on a love song about their respective wives (or ex-wives now, at least in Future’s case). “I Won” is the result, and it is exactly as you’d expect. Both Future and Kanye West sound enthralled with love on this track as they wax romantic about their partners. “I Won” is a surreal blast from the past — and a startling reminder of love’s impermanence. If nothing else, you’ll get to hear Kanye’s longing desire to dip Kim Kardashian’s rear end in gold.

“This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)” by Talking Heads

Of “This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody),” some writer in the outer regions of the Internet deems it a love song made by an alien (or something to that extent). “Home is where I want to be, but I guess I’m already there,” is a shrug of a lyric — a expression of adoration and fondness that’s as noncommittal as it is devoted. It’s so apathetic that it feels like a paean, like David Byrne’s love is so deeply embedded in his DNA that he doesn’t need any grand platitudes to express it. In 100 years (or maybe sooner) when the aliens come for us, here’s hoping that the first thing they play is “This Must be the Place (Naive Melody).”

“The Luckiest Guy on the Lower East Side” by the Magnetic Fields

The narrator of “The Luckiest Guy on the Lower East Side” has no redeeming qualities — he says so himself over the course of the song. Other men are smarter, wiser, more thoughtful, even better in bed. But when he’s got his ride, “all the other guys don’t stand a chance.” It’s a love song for the self-deprecating — an anthem for the wimps of the world to make a move and, if only for a moment, canoodle with the person of their dreams.

“It’s You” by Nao

The kicker in “It’s You” is its specificity and directness. British songstress Nao croons, “Your silver hair, your red and checked shirt buttoned to your apple / Laugh until it hurts,” as if she’s wistfully daydreaming of late nights and mornings in and coffee dates and lazy days in bed. Nao’s head over heels — and if there’s a one-liner that’s more simply wonderful than “If perfect’s out there, it’s you,” we’ve yet to find it.

You can listen to this week’s Tunesday above. Follow Daily Cal A&E on Spotify!

Joshua Bote is the assistant arts & entertainment editor. Contact him at [email protected]. Tweet him at @joshuaboat.