Love songs for the hopeless romantic: your February Press-Playlist


Credit: Jessica LaFrance and Kayla Bugeya

Jaeden Pinder, Arts Editor

Picture it: it’s 2013. You’re getting ready to meet your friends at the mall to shop at American Apparel with your eyes set on finding a tennis skirt, and maybe some disco pants if you have enough money. After, you might stop at The Cheesecake Factory, indulge in its four-volume menu, and bask in its pseudo-fanciness while you and your friends talk excitedly about the new music video for the Arctic Monkeys’ song “Do I Wanna Know?” 

If you were a teenager then, chances are this tableau stirs a pang of nostalgia in your heart and was significant to your adolescent upbringing. With the ever-changing trend cycle, it was inevitable that the semi-grunge style of 2013 would come back around. 2013 was a time when anything could be romanticized even in hindsight, a picture of some high pH level water could be cool. 

While 2013 was also a complete renaissance of aesthetics in terms of film and fashion, it also provided a shift in the musical paradigm, especially in love songs. This February, gear up for Valentine’s Day with our favorite love songs from the early 2010s, from British icons like The 1975 to American bands like The Neighbourhood. 

Arctic Monkeys – Stop The World I Wanna Get Off With You

Alex Turner can manage to make anything romantic, including the normal task of picking a seat on a train. Though Turner’s poetry is not the focus here, the Arctic Monkeys’ music has always been held together by Turner’s charming choice of words. Nearly any song by the band throughout their career could’ve been chosen for this playlist, but The Pace Press opted for this B-side from “AM.” Throughout the track, Turner never comes off as presumptuous, rather unabashedly infatuated, professing his desire for more than an illicit affair.

Our favorite lyric: “With the exception of you, I dislike everyone in the room.”

Wolf Alice – Don’t Delete The Kisses

Existing outside of the immediate realm of 2013, having been released in 2017, “Don’t Delete The Kisses” still sparks the same emotions of angst and longing found then. “Don’t Delete The Kisses” is a song that fantasizes about romantic hypotheticals; the moments of what could have been. With a music video following two lovers on the subway (or the tube, as Wolf Alice would say), this song is perfect to play during a late-night commute.

Our favorite lyric: “When I see you, the whole world reduces/To just that room/And then I remember and I’m shy/That gossip’s eye will look too soon.”

The 1975 – Robbers

Matty Healy loves a good reference, and it is evident in The 1975’s song “Robbers.” Based on the 1993 film “True Romance,” no one on Tumblr, even the entire Internet, could escape the effect this song and accompanying music video had on emo teenagers everywhere. Even if the lyrics don’t seem to make much sense, it doesn’t stop anyone from screaming along to the outro of the frontman howling, “you look so cool.” 

Our favorite lyric: “You’ve got a pretty kind of dirty face.”

The Neighbourhood – Flawless

The lyric “I just can’t wait for love to destroy us” hurts even more now knowing Jesse Rutherford and Devon Lee Carlson have (possibly) split after six years. Though written before their relationship, The Neighbourhood is another member of the grayscale garrison of the bands who released defining albums that all coincidentally followed a strict monochrome aesthetic. From the repeating motif of the guitar slide, “Flawless” is melodramatic in all the right places, while simply about falling out of love with someone.

Our favorite lyric: “I fell in love today, there aren’t any words that you can say/That could ever get my mind to change.”

John Cooper Clarke – I Wanna Be Yours 

Covered by the Arctic Monkeys as the closing track to their 2013 record, the poem was written and recorded as a song by John Cooper Clarke in 1982. While The Pace Press loves the Arctic Monkeys’ sultry and brooding take on the poem, Clarke’s original has a juvenile quality to it that is just as charming. “I Wanna Be Yours” seems to poke fun at love songs from the ’80s, with Clarke droning about his love carelessly in his gravelly voice. With dramatic metaphors of electric heaters, meters and other household appliances, Clarke sees love as a form of dependence and necessity. Whether you want to dissect the poem or just bop along to the beat, be sure to put this punk poet’s song on this holiday.

Our favorite lyric: “I wanna be your raincoat/For those frequent rainy days/I wanna be your dreamboat/When you want to sail away.”

FKA twigs – Two Weeks

With the recent release of the mainstream vision of “CAPRISONGS,” her first-ever mixtape, we can’t help looking back at what started it all for twigs, with her first single, “Two Weeks.” Within its first seconds, the song immediately radiates an atmosphere of raw sexual confidence. It is a visceral depiction of both longing and jealousy all encompassed in her avant-garde take on electronic music.

Our favorite lyric: “Pull out the incisor, give me two weeks, you won’t recognize her.”

The xx – Stars 

The xx’s early work succeeded not so much from experimentation, but rather their astute use of ambient sound and negative space in music, thanks to Jamie xx.  Just as the guitar feels that it will finally burst into a dynamic solo at the song’s peak, everything shrinks back down, highly reminiscent of the lyrics’ focus on communicating love over lust. The call and response bridge between Romy and Oliver Sim is the standout moment in “Stars,” with their subtle and elegant voices blending perfectly against each other.

Our favorite lyric: “But if stars, shouldn’t shine/By the very first time/Then dear it’s fine, so fine by me.”

Catfish and the Bottlemen – Cocoon

Even though Catfish and the Bottlemen haven’t remained as popular in their later years as other bands on this list, their first album “The Balcony” is still a classic listen for 2010s indie rock. While many songs in this playlist are all about the determination to be with the person they love so much, “Cocoon” is much more forthright in the way Van McCann reveals his love, screaming, “F**k it if they try and get to us/’Cause I’d rather go blind/Than let you down.” It is perhaps as honest as infatuation can get, but it’s one of the most authentic love songs from the era.

Our favorite lyric: “I fell straight/Into your arms/Like a drunk/Who’s been on it.”

Blood Orange – It Is What It Is

Dev Hynes is single-handedly responsible for producing some of the most defining pop songs of the 2010s, including Sky Ferreira’s “Everything Is Embarrassing” and Mac Miller’s “Self Care.” Though hailing from London, Hynes is based in New York City, and most of his music is inspired by the city’s culture, even name-dropping Manhattan neighborhoods in the opening verse of “It Is What It Is.” Rather than a love song about a person, this song romanticizes city life and shows that even in its darkest moments, the city will always have something new to discover.

Our favorite lyric: “I’ve wasted moments in the SoHo nights/And lost it all.”