The dreaded season is upon us – one that spreads equal parts joy and misery in that special way that unites us all. We’re talkin’ about Valentine’s Day – an annual celebration of love, both requited and not, and if there is one art form that this squishy celebration loves to frequent, it would have to be the Love Song.
On one hand, Love Songs can be vessels of infinite joy and yearning, and on the other can be a detailed account of the apocalypse of your soul. So, they can be a bit of a mixed bag. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
With love being in the air this weekend, we wanted to check in with Hult Center Staff to find out what songs still tickle their heart strings, reminding them of lover’s lane, and which ones they’d rather see end up in the trash, along with the chalky candy hearts that no really wants to eat.
Jennifer Cumberworth – Education Coordinator
Good: Another Night by the Real Mccoy – I just love this song! I think it is one of the most perfect pop songs and it reminds me of roller skate nights in the 90s. Plus, it is my song with my husband!
Bad: Can You Feel the Love Tonight (Lion King) – I cannot stand this song (Sorry Lion King fans!) I was in marching band in high school and we had to play this song on repeat while the whole homecoming court slowly promenaded the football field. Playing that song on repeat EVERY YEAR in the freezing cold (I’m from the Midwest) became a bit torturous. This song will never be romantic to me.
Abbey Aronica – Marketing Coordinator
Good: “Linger” by The Cranberries. Aside from their lead singer, Dolores O’Riordan, being an absolute vocal powerhouse, this song gives me such “90’s rom-com, driving around your hometown at night” vibes. The Cranberries are one of my favorite bands of all time and I think that they capture an ethereal, dreamy sound that would always cheer me up and make me want to dance around my room, singing at the top of my lungs.
Bad: “Ice Cream” by Sarah McLachlan. This song is one of those “so bad, it’s good” tunes that was a constant in my house growing up. Sarah McLachlan is infamous for producing some real tear-jerkers, but this song (while still a little melancholy) has some sillier lyrics, and as a kid, any song talking about ice cream and chocolate was alright in my book. My dad would let my sister and I step on his feet as he’d dance us around the living room to this song over and over (all screeching the lyrics and laughing hysterically, of course), so while it may be a “bad” love song, it’ll always be extremely special to me.
Vicki Infinito – Director of Programming
Good: John Prine – In Spite of Ourselves
It is cheeky in all the right ways. This is such a great song that I feel most couples can see themselves in. Those little annoyances that we all have with our partner, but in spite of all that there is still love and you know you will end up “sitting on a rainbow” with them. I think that is the beauty of John Prine as a songwriter you really get a sense of the couple in this song. Just like so many of his songs this one tells a story that you can imagine as it’s sung. It was my husband who really introduced me to John Prine and this particular song makes me think of him every time I hear it.
Bad: The Police – Every Breath You Take
I LOVE The Police and this song is great, but it is NOT a love song! Why do people play this at their weddings. It is about a stalker! Seriously, have they not actually listened to the lyrics. “Oh, can’t you see, you belong to me” The song is about a relationship that ended and the person writing it can’t handle being without this other person and basically is stalking them. Even Sting has said this – he has said it is a “nasty little song…about jealousy and surveillance and ownership.”
- also nominated by Jeff Weinkauf – Director of Theater & Facility Operations
Nathan Cox – Assistant Technical Director
Good: Midnight at the Oasis by Maria Muldaur. Makes me steamy.
Emeka Ogu – Ticket Office Assistant Manager
Good: Willie Nelson and his son, Lucas, did a powerful cover of Pearl Jam’s ‘Just Breathe’. I fell in love with this version during my partner Amanda’s pregnancy. When my own Sun, Aneche was a few months old, as soon as this song or video would play, no matter if he was in the middle of a meltdown, he would immediately go silent and pay attention to the device playing the song. He gets ‘Willie’ happy and smiles and dances when he hears it. This version’s video turned a romance song into a song about the love between a parent and child, realizing that life is finite and that the parent will not always be around. Reminding us to enjoy our time together while we can and “come clean” with the ones you love now.
Bad: The best worst love song is Jack Black and Jimmy Fallon covering Extreme’s More than Words and the shot-for-shot remake of the video. I mean… it is hilarious and that’s the point. But it is impossible to take seriously. Enjoy!
Theresa Sizemore – General Manager
Good: The Very Thought of You, words and lyrics by Ray Noble, 1934 – recorded by Billie Holiday, Nat King Cole and many others. Says it all. Being so in love that the mere thought of the individual creates magic and beauty wherever you go. It’s the only song I’ve ever sang to my husband.
Bad: Love You a Little Bit More, by Dr. Hook. This came out in the mid 70s and I when I’d hear it on the radio, I’d think, “ EEEEEEEOOOOOOOW. Leave her alone.”
Hannah Bulkley – Programming Coordinator
Good: For a love song I love, I’ll go with Dream a Little Dream of Me, the Mama Cass version. Jeff and I were dancing in a piece together in Long Beach to this song when we started dating, so we’ve adopted it as “our” song. We also danced to it for our first dance at our wedding. I love the Mamas and the Papas, and I love Mama Cass’s voice. I know this song has been recorded many times over, but the emotion she puts into it exactly echoes how I feel when I listen to it, and of course now it’s just extremely sentimental to me.
Bad: I actually really hate the song “You are my sunshine”—it fills me with anxiety and sadness. You only have one sunshine?! You’re begging someone not to take it away?! Aack! I actually changed the words to make it happier so my kids don’t even know the original words.
Lee Alberts – Food and Beverage Director
Good: When I think of great love songs I automatically go back to the glorious mid 1980’s living in Dubuque, Iowa and getting the courage to ask whichever girl I had a crush on that month to do the couples only Moonlight Skate. It was always a truly nerve wrecking experience asking that special girl for the most romantic skate ever and then being so nervous that my sweaty palm would soak her hand in the process. Clearly two songs represent those special days better than others. They are “They are Take My Breath Away” by Berlin from the Top Gun Soundtrack and Madonna’s “Crazy For You”.
Bad: As far as bad love song goes, I always disliked “Missing You” by John Waite. When that song would come on the radio back in Dubuque, I’d be forced to switch the station from KLYV 105 to the KAT 93 FM which played more oldies style stuff and maybe I’d get lucky and something like Credence Clearwater Revival would be playing. After further reflection, yes that song still sucks.
Rich Hobby – Director of Marketing
Good: I had a much harder time selecting a “Good” song than I would have thought. I was torn between songs that are timeless and those that are specific to me, and then landed in the middle with the timeless classic “Time After Time” by Cyndi Lauper. This is just one of those songs that captures the emotion of dedication and care for another person and always being there when needed, and to me that’s what love is all about. Also, bonus points since I can include a Parks and Rec mention. High-five to anyone celebrating Galentine’s or Palentine’s Day – yay friendship!
Bad: “My Heart Will Go On “- by Celine Dion. I think that anyone that spent part of their teenage years in the 90’s will forever be scarred by this love ballad. I can viscerally remember trying to avoid this song and by avoid I mean actually make it an entire day without hearing it. One could only dream. But, alas, the song was equal to air, it was everywhere you went and anytime you turned a corner you’d find it slapping you in the face from car stereos to the sometimes more excruciating instrumental versions that would stalk you from store to store. To this day I still recoil a little and start identifying closest exits when I hear the wind-up notes of this song.