10 artists, including Joe Mount, Ezra Furman and Angus Andrews, share the love songs they just can’t resist


Ezra Furman
My Baby Crying by Bill Fox
“Bill Fox was in a band called The Mice, then he made a couple solo records, then he disappeared aggressively, shunning all performance and press opportunities. This song cuts deepest for me. The lyrics depict not only a scene, but an entire world. This world is completely callous to Bill’s tear-stained beloved, whom Bill wants nothing more than to protect. Tie that to a gorgeous melody and a gorgeous voice and you’ve got something that’s both deeply painful and deeply consoling. Oh, I cling to this song. I love it desperately.”

Fránçois from Fránçois and the Atlas Mountains
Ne Me Quitte Pas by Jacques Brel, performed by Nina Simone
“Love shows its greatest strength when the lover has gone. I’m really not a massive fan of Jacques Brel but this song goes a million miles beyond liking him or not. It’s a classic, at least in France. Nina Simone apparently found it important enough to make her learn the many words of its original version. It’s hard for me not to cry when I hear it. It’s such an important song for me that, even though I hadn’t heard it for years, I realised while writing this that I had nicked the expression “or et lumiere” for the lyrics of my song ‘Piano Ombre’.”

Toby Kidd of Hatcham Social
True Love Ways by Buddy Holly
“True Love Ways’ is a wonderful soundtrack to teenage romance. At the start of the song you can hear all of the sounds of the room in which the track was recorded; there is some chat and a call of ‘quiet boys’ before the piano plays a single pitching note for Buddy to begin. The intimacy of the room makes the song so much more beautiful. A great touch. My favourite part is the little counter-melody phrase that is played on a brass or woodwind instrument. To me Buddy Holly is the king of rock and roll; his mixture and subversion of popular styles; his pristine look; his Coca-Cola characters; his rebellious single-mindedness: a lyric poet of the milkshake age.”

Someone Like You by Adele
“The lyrics, the melodies and the vulnerable yet aggressive vibe of her voice make every centimetre of my body ache.  Adele is the complete singer – she has the most amazing technical skills but also (and most importantly) the gift of authenticity. ‘Someone Like You’ is the ultimate heartache pop song of our time. Once I fell asleep in a taxi on my way home from town drunk, and I woke up to this playing on the radio and started crying. Whilst I’m not very proud of this, I’m not embarrassed either, ’cause this song definitely deserves my tears.”

Daniel Falvey of Fear of Men
‘You Swan, Go On’ by Mount Eerie
“As good as I could possibly imagine my life getting, it did, after I met you,” opens Phil Elverum on this song, expertly distilling the heights of love into one simple line with minimum fuss. It’s a sentiment that in lesser hands could be cloying but the reason I find ‘You Swan, Go On’ so beautiful is because it unfolds into an elegy on a love that was generous and giving, rather than jealous or possessive. Elverum’s lyrics detail the relationship like an exorcism and by the end of the song the narrator has transformed from a “grey goose” to a swan, the relationship over but our protagonist better for having been a part of it.”

Keel Her
Love In A Pub by Icy Spicy Leoncie
“This is my favourite love song mainly because the way she pronounces the word ‘pub’ is very satisfying. It’s also melancholy because her lover has just lost his job so now he goes to a lot of pubs. Overall, this song has a good ratio of ‘upbeat’ to ‘depression’, which is what love is all about. I don’t know much about the artist but I’ve looked up her discography on Wikipedia just now and one of her albums is called ‘Radio Rapist-Wrestler’, so I’ll probably check out what’s going on there.”

East India Youth
Surrender by Suicide
“I think Suicide’s third album is underrated. While it may not have possessed the cultural impact of the previous two records, it did allow them to flex their sonic muscles much further. ‘Surrender’ is a great example of this, and indeed it is a very fine love song. Structurally and harmonically it is reminiscent of a classic 50s love song but the lyrics, in true Alan Vega style, are barely comprehensible, something I think heightens the romance of the track. Love should not be so easily interpreted; it is a much too complex and beautiful thing to be intelligible.”

Joe Mount of Metronomy
‘Silly Little Love Songs’ by Paul McCartney
“On one level it’s the song that Paul McCartney was designed to make – y’know, it is what it is. But there’s something about Paul McCartney, when I listen to him, imagining him in love with Linda, and on some of those earlier song he doesn’t come across as the most genuine guy. But then you hear something like ‘Silly Little Love Songs’ and seems like it’s coming from a very genuine place. And if you’re going to have a favourite love song, it might as well be an overtly mushy one. The lyrics are brilliantly forward. I love you.”

Angus Andrew of Liars
96 Tears by ? & the Mysterians
“I’m just going to go right off the top of my head real quick and say ’96 Tears’. That’s an easy one for me. Love the song, love the idea, the concept behind the lyrics, we even considered calling one of our albums ’97 Tears’ just in homage but it never panned out.”

Samuel T Terring of Future Islands
Wonderful World by Sam Cooke
“Sam Cooke says it all in this simple and beautiful song. ‘Wonderful World’ basically sums up our approach to love in our music.We don’t claim to be the most intelligent guys; we actually try to play it down as much as possible. However, we’ll always sing confidently when it comes to matters of the heart. As humans, it’s the only thing we can know for certain – how we feel on the inside. And that’s as personal as it gets. Plus Sam Cooke is the man. He always hits home with the sweetness.”