Two, we limited it to one song per artist, with a couple of exceptions, like The Beatles, because they’re The Beatles.
Yet, thanks to her soaring, rapturous voice, the song plays like a work of genuine, unadulterated joy, when it could’ve just been the credits soundtrack to some godawful rom-com. Bjork, “Possibly Maybe” ### This bittersweet song from Bjork deftly explains the process of falling in (and possibly out) of love.Lauryn Hill, “Nothing Even Matters” (1998) ### D’Angelo pops up again on this sweetly soulful duet, which Hill wrote as a tribute to the great Roberta Flack/Donny Hathaway tracks of the ’70s. Weezer, “Buddy Holly” (1994) ### It’s strange in retrospect, but in 1994, “geek chic” really wasn’t a thing.The way the pair’s voices wind around each other is so intimate, so impossibly intertwined, that it’s hard to believe they weren’t lovers. The Cure, “Friday I’m In Love” (1992) ### Robert Smith has more or less disowned “Friday I’m In Love” — not goth enough, probably — but it features one of the most concrete and moving images in a catalogue full of oversized abstractions: Smith wakes up to find his wife noshing on a midnight snack. This gleeful celebration of us-against-the-world, fuck-’em-if-they-don’t-understand romance stood out even more amidst the heroin-seriousness of contemporary rock radio.I imagine them waltzing slowly, appreciatively, but knowing which way the other is going to go without thinking — the way you know how to cook your favorite meal.The song is a bolero, and the lyrics are about devotion, after all.Despite its jangly popness, the song feels intimate and full of love, though these days I have to wonder about the wisdom of falling back into a relationship with a guy who says, “I always knew you’d take me back.” But, you know, when you’re young and idealistic, the makeup sex that goes along with refrains like these is heady and full of flowers.— Listen: The Jesus & Mary Chain with Hope Sandoval, “Sometimes Always” 24.Jawbreaker, “Chesterfield King” (1991) ### Blake Schwarzenbach was the Charles Bukowski of early ’90s alternative.Gruff-voiced but tender, he was unashamed to sing of “Killin’ cops and readin’ Kerouac” and his feelings side by side. Anchored by the band’s impossibly deep groove, “Higher” shows why gospel and R&B are as inextricably linked as church and sex: they’re both transcendent, but firmly in the here and now — exactly how you want falling in love to be. Smashing Pumpkins, “Luna” (1993) ### For suburban kids hitting their stride during the Clinton years, there weren’t very many love songs to choose from.“Chesterfield King” is the best view of this dichotomy: it’s a downright touching account of suburban love, the kind that seemingly happens every fall night across the country, delivered in a boozy four minutes. There was plenty of raging against the machine and Pavement-style irony to go around, but romance was generally the subject of mockery.In order to break through the era’s postmodern glaze, you either had to be an outcast, or be too comically self-indulgent to notice the world around you. was one of the few pop-rock albums of that time to express love and emotional vulnerability in a straightforward way; the beautiful closer, “Luna,” with that naked final refrain (“I’m in love with you”) became the private soundtrack to many a school-bus love affair. REM, “At My Most Beautiful” (1999) ### Most of REM’s perceived love songs (“The One I Love,” “Losing My Religion”), well, aren’t.