A Very Different Sort of Valentine’s Day Playlist: Five Artists Choose Their Most ‘Romantic’ Songs

Above image: Jason Schwartzman and Kirsten Dunst in ‘Marie Antionette’

Though there’s almost no one who doesn’t appreciate a good old fashioned snogging session, everyone really does have their own idea of what constitutes “romance.” Of course, Valentine’s Day is arguably the most contrived incarnation of the “R” word. So with the 14th of February fast approaching, we thought we’d get a bit contrarian and ask several of our fave indie artists to pick one of their own songs that doesn’t at all fit the “hearts and flowers” version of love that can be heard clogging the pop music airwaves at this time of year.

No surprise, the ever iconoclastic Sarah Jaffe chose a song about how much she loves her friends. While The Neverlutionaries‘ Christopher Harold Wells meditates on stumbling one’s way to romantic fulfillment, and at the same time possibly invents the genre of cabaret-soul. And DC alt-pop stalwarts SHAED remind us that l’amour is not as constant as we might wish it to be.

Elsewhere, Swedish songstress Badlands considers how relationships can be reinvented when all seems otherwise lost. And finally, Montreal chanteuse Kandle has a lesson in protecting oneself from the sting of heartbreak.

So this VDay, stay safe, order in from your favorite romantic restaurant, and simply share your love through music. And above all, listen with your heart.

Sarah Jaffe

‘All My Friends Are Pretty’

Chasing the feeling of “being in love” is exhausting when it’s a direct reaction to grief. It’s like when a baby won’t lay down for a nap even when their eyes are closing. And you’re just like, “Give up, little baby. LAY DOWN. You’re tired.”

When I got exhausted from my own chase, I learned, time and time again, that my friends gave me every single thing I was looking for. My friends have always been there whether I was boo-ed up or not. So I wanted to write a song for them.


‘Once Upon a Time’

We wrote ‘Once Upon a Time’ about the tragic nature of being young and in love. Our first relationships were filled with intense feelings of love, hope, doubt, and regret. In the blink of an eye, you go from believing you’ll die in that person’s arms, to watching the walls of the foundation you built crumble around you.  Remembering our first loves felt like swimming in a golden haze of fragile beauty. We wanted this song and this music video to capture that emotion.

The Neverlutionaries


“If I stumble, if I fall, will you pick me up? If I’m lost and can’t recall because my eyes can’t see anything…but your love.”…” I feel ‘Stumble’ is the perfect Valentine’s Day song. First off, it sets a sexy, vibey and welcoming mood to intrigue the listener’s ear. Piano ballads and love songs have been synonymous since the two were first paired together eons ago, and ‘Stumble’ harkens back to the root of that feeling. Deep, powerful and mind blowing feelings of love that are all-consuming and incredible to feel. And also, ironically, the fear of losing such love. At the end of the day, that true love is something that each of us searches for on our paths in life – whether we want to admit it or not.


‘Hearts’ ft. J Cowhie

‘Hearts’ is an inverted love song about sticking together because you don’t have a choice, and fusing after sharing a lot of hard times together. It’s about commitment, and what it means to reinvent and reassess love time and time again. No one knows how the story ends though, and that’s the point…that love isn’t magic, but just as perishable as anything else in life.


‘How Can You Hurt Me”

The premise of the song is essentially about self preservation, being completely abandoned by a great love with no explanation and thereafter seeking the cold comfort of an unobtainable, sexual and simple relationship inept of love. Everybody deals with heartbreak differently, but for me, I need to write a song and find a handsome gentleman to distract me. “How can you hurt me when love’s just a word I no longer believe? And you’ll never try…you’ll never use it on me!” Rhetorically sung at the end of each chorus; we were incapable of loving each other, therefor I was safe from harm. Happy Valentines Day!

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