The Best and Worst Love Songs

It’s Valentine’s Day. Fellow HerCampus writer Tricia and I are spending all day in the library. Pretend this is normal. Anyway, all of a sudden we hear singing coming from a few tables back. As if we needed another reminder of our single-girl lifestyle, we realize that this guy has come to surprise his girlfriend by serenading her in front of all of us. Once we got over the initial jealousy, we began discussing which song we would hypothetically want a guy to sing to us. Embarrassing? Probably. Good way to procrastinate studying? Definitely.

Next thing I know, I’m sitting there with the perfect playlist for any wedding written all over my Spanish notebook. Over the past couple of weeks this playlist has grown to over 150 songs and is basically all I find myself listening to. Again … embarrassing? Probably.

However, through doing this I have realized a lot about music; not only about how much it has changed over time, but also how much it influences our society, and particularly, the treatment of women.

Don’t get me wrong – I enjoy listening to Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj, Eminem, LMFAO and Notorious B.I.G. just as much as the next person. And I know there’s nothing like hearing the right song at the right time, especially when you’re out at night or trying to get through your workout. I do, however, think it is important to realize how what we are listening to on the radio characterizes our generation.

While rediscovering all of these songs filled with meaning and heart-filled messages, I couldn’t help but think about how contradictory the lyrics are compared to those found in popular music today. Instead of immediately busting out in my best JLo impression when hearing “Dance A$$” by Big Sean like usual, I listened to the words and was disturbed by the level of degradation toward women.

For example:

“How your waist anorexic and then your a$$ is colossal /
Drop that a$$, make it boomerang /
They pay me respect, they pay me in checks /
And if she look good, she pay me in sex.”

I mean, seriously? Do we want our generation to be remembered for objectifying women instead of respecting them? I think it’s about time we start understanding that what we read and what we listen to have a much greater affect on how we act than we realize.

I recently read (and highly recommend) How to be a Hepburn in a Hilton World by Jordan Christy, which talks about “cultivating a culture of class, style and grace.” Christy addresses how the media decides women’s role in society. Whether it’s through music, magazines or movies – how we treat women goes far beyond the here and now.  As Christy says, “Self-respect isn’t just for us, for the now. It’s also for the preservation of the dignity, class, and fabulousness of femininity for future generations of young women.”

Although I can’t blame today’s artists for wanting to have the next number one hit, I can’t help but wonder who is going to be the Stevie Wonder or Bob Dylan of our generation. This playlist is made up of songs that just make you feel good, pulled from all genres and time periods. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have.

“I want to go back to that time when the music made you feel like you wanted to fall in love and you wanted to drive up to lookout mountain, but still had enough mystery in it not to tell what you did when you got there. I want to go back to that time when the music was wonderful.”
-- Gladys Knight, End of the Road Medley

The Greatest Love Songs Ever
Ain't No Mountain High Enough - Marvin Gaye                
All My Life - K-Ci & JoJo        
Always Be My Baby - Mariah Carey        
Angel - Jack Johnson
Angel of Mine - Monica        
Anyone Else But You - Michael Cera & Ellen Page        
At Last - Etta James        
Baby I Love You - Aretha Franklin        
Baby, I Love Your Way - Peter Frampton
Back At One - Brian McKnight        
Be Without You - Mary J. Blige        
Best Days - Matt White        
Best of My Love - The Emotions
Better Together - Jack Johnson        
Bless the Broken Road - Rascal Flatts        
Chasing Cars - Snow Patrol        
Closer to You - Brandi Carlile
Come Away With Me - Norah Jones        
Crash Into Me - Dave Matthews Band        
Crazy For This Girl - Evan & Jaron        
Crazy Girl - Eli Young Band
Crazy Love - Van Morrison
Dance So Good - Wakey!Wakey!        
Dangerously in Love 2 - Beyoncé        
Don't Think Twice, It's All Right - Bob Dylan
Drops of Jupiter - Train        
Faithfully - Journey                
Faithfully (Glee Cast Version) - Glee Cast        
Fast Car - Tracy Chapman        
For Once in My Life  - Gladys Knight & The Pips
Give In to Me - Garrett Hedlund & Leighton Meester        
God Gave Me You - Blake Shelton        
(God Must Have Spent) A Little More Time on You - *NSYNC        
Halo - Beyoncé        
Hard to Concentrate - Red Hot Chili Peppers        
Harvest Moon - Neil Young        
Have I Told You Lately - Rod Stewart        
Have You Ever - Brandy        
Here Comes The Sun - The Beatles
Hey Love - Chris O'Brien        
Hold You In My Arms - Ray LaMontagne        
Home - Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros        
Honey Bee - Blake Shelton        
How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You) - Marvin Gaye        
I Care 4 U - Aaliyah        
I Just Can't Stop Loving You - Michael Jackson        
I Look to You - Whitney Houston     
I Love U - Chris Brown (yes, Chris Brown. Ironic?)
I Run to You - Lady Antebellum
I Say A Little Prayer - Aretha Franklin        
I Wanna Know - Joe        
I Want to Hold Your Hand - The Beatles        
I Want To Hold Your Hand (Glee Cast Version) - Glee Cast
I Will Always Love You - Whitney Houston        
I'll Be - Edwin McCain        
I'll Make Love To You - Boyz II Men                
I'll Stand By You - Pretenders        
I'm In Love With You         - Joy Williams        
I'm So Into You - Aaliyah        
If I Ain't Got You - Alicia Keys        
Into You - Fabolous                
Iris - The Goo Goo Dolls        
Is This Love - Corinne Bailey Rae (Bob Marley cover)             
It Would Be You - Trey Songz                
Just a Kiss - Lady Antebellum        
Keep It Loose, Keep It Tight - Amos Lee        
Keep Me In Mind - Zac Brown Band        
Kiss - Prince & The Revolution        
Let's Get Married - Jagged Edge        
Let's Stay Together - Al Green        
The Light - Common        
A Little More You - Little Big Town        
The Little Things - Colbie Caillat        
Love - Matt White        
Love On Top - Beyoncé        
Love You I Do - Jennifer Hudson        
Love You Out Loud - Rascal Flatts        
Lovesong - Adele        
Magic - Colbie Caillat        
Make You Feel My Love - Adele
Marry Me - Train        
Marry You - Bruno Mars        
Miss Independent - Ne-Yo        
Moondance - Van Morrison        
More Than Words - Extreme        
My Girl - The Temptations                
Nothing Even Matters - Lauryn Hill        
On A Night Like This -Dave Barnes                
On Bended Knee - Boyz II Men        
On the Way Down - Ryan Cabrera        
One And Only - Adele        
Our Kind of Love - Lady Antebellum        
Pretty Wings - Maxwell        
Rather Die Young - Beyoncé        
Save the Best for Last - Vanessa Williams        
Save Tonight - Eagle-Eye Cherry
Seasons of Love - RENT Soundtrack        
Shape Of My Heart - Backstreet Boys        
She Is Love - Parachute        
She's Everything - Brad Paisley        
Sleeping to Dream - Jason Mraz        
Slow Dance - John Legend        
Smash Into You - Beyoncé        
So Beautiful - Musiq Soulchild        
Some Hearts - Carrie Underwood        
Somebody Like You - Keith Urban                
Something - The Beatles        
Something Special - Usher        
Something to Talk About - Bonnie Raitt        
Southern Girl - Amos Lee        
Steal My Kisses - Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals        
Sunday Morning - Maroon 5        
Sunrise - Norah Jones        
The Sweetest Thing (feat. Lauryn Hill) - Refugee Camp All-Stars        
Take Care (feat. Rihanna) - Drake              
Tell Him  - Lauryn Hill        
This Will Be (An Everlasting love) - Natalie Cole        
Tru Love - Faith Evans        
Truly Madly Deeply - Savage Garden        
Turn Me On - Norah Jones        
Twilight Serenade - Jason Myles Goss        
Until the End of Time - Justin Timberlake & Beyoncé
Waiting for You - Ben Harper        
When a Man Loves a Woman - Percy Sledge        
A Whole New World (Soundtrack Version) - Brad Kane & Lea Solanga        
Will You Be There - Boyce Avenue (Michael Jackson cover)
Without You - Keith Urban        
Without You (Glee Cast Version) - Glee Cast        
Wonderful Tonight - Eric Clapton        
Wonderwall - Oasis                
Wouldn't It Be Nice - The Beach Boys        
You - Chris Young        
You and Me - Lifehouse        
You Are the Best Thing - Ray LaMontagne        
You Are the Sunshine of My Life - Stevie Wonder        
You Da One - Rihanna        
(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman - Aretha Franklin        
You're Beautiful - James Blunt        
You're Still the One - Shania Twain        
You're the One - Dondria        
1+1 - Beyoncé        
03' Bonnie & Clyde - Jay-Z & Beyoncé        

Check out the playlist on Spotify!

What songs would you add to our playlist? Leave your comments!

Sources:
Couple with umbrella (photo): http://lifeissimplydelicious.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/love.jpg
Nicki Minaj art (photo): http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-rtOUW3EQJyw/TrB5zI67NbI/AAAAAAAAB4U/NRiQKpHqj-Y/s1600/Big+Sean+%2526+Nicki+Minaj+Dance+%2528A%2524%2524%2529+cover+2.png