Back when I was pretending I could teach music, my guy students/victims would always ask me to teach them love songs they could use to serenade girls.
Being a teacher of great integrity, I usually refused, and insisted they followed my syllabus of three-chord nursery rhymes and The Moffatts songs.
My students of course, found a way around that and started singing The Moffatts’ (god bless their souls) I Miss You Like Crazy to their potential girlfriends. Needless to say, I quickly lost my job.
Things seemed to have changed quite a bit now. Love songs and ballads are considered cheesy, even timeless classics like I Miss You Like Crazy.
“Love songs” now are all about disco sticks, kissing through the phone and wanting to “make up right now na na”. Thank you, Akon, for your invaluable contribution to the English language on that last one.
So, I was thinking maybe you youngsters need a bit of education on how to sweep a girl off her feet with some good ol’ fashioned serenadin’.
For starters, here are some songs you should NOT sing to a girl on Valentine’s:
I’ll Make Love To You, Boyz II Men
It’s a nice song, but also totally presumptuous, and maybe a bit creepy too. It’s like you’re not even asking, you’re saying “I will make love to you”. Perv.
Because You Loved Me, Celine Dion
Unless you are dating your mother, or that school teacher who inspired you to be a better person, don’t do this number. Don’t be fooled by the title; it’s not a romantic love song. Save it for Mother’s Day, ok?
Can You Feel the Love Tonight, Elton John
Same case here. Unless you are dating a 12-year-old Disney character, don’t do this song. It might have been the shiz back in 1994, but songs about love making “kings and vagabonds” believe the very best is just, well, too Disney. The goal is to make the girl fall for you, not run through the jungle with you singing hakuna matata.
Can I Touch You… There, Michael Bolton
Bolton has an entire catalogue of soft-rock ballads you can use (if you have a Kenny G wig), but don’t make the mistake of including this song in that list. I mean, what’s with the “…” in “Can I touch you… there”? Sounds totally wrong.
The chorus goes: Can I touch you there / Touch you deep inside
Can I touch your heart / The way you’re touchin’ mine.
Can I go… Throw up?
More Than Words, Extreme
A Valentine’s Day staple. But if you think about it, Extreme was a 80s hair metal band. When they said they wanted to be shown love from a lady with something other than words, they probably had something a bit more extreme on their minds. This song’s a definite maybe; it could work if you don’t think too much, which would be hard now that I put that thought in your heads and totally ruined the song for you.
Don’t trust the Internet
Now for Part Two of How to Serenade Your Girl on V-Day (V for Valentine’s, guys. Don’t let your imaginations run wild).
I googled “Valentine’s Day songs” and “love songs”, and trust me – don’t trust them.
Here are some of the songs recommended by websites that turned up on the first page of search results, and I included the links just in case you think I’m making it up:
Quit Playing Games, Backstreet Boys; at StValentinesDay.org (http://www.stvalentinesday.org/valentines-day-songs.html).
Seriously? By the time you reach the first line of the chorus, your girl will be going, “no prob, I quit”.
Be My Lover, La Bouche; and The Sweet Escape, Gwen Stefani; at PopMusic.suite101.com (http://popmusic.suite101.com/article.cfm/most_popular_valentines_day_songs).
Imagine picking up a guitar halfway through your candle-lit dinner and going “rawr-ha-yea-hey-e, wanna be my lovah; rawr-ha-yea-hey-e… Wanna be my lovaaaaaaaah…..!!” or “Woo-hoo! Yeeee-hoo! Woo-hoo! Yeeee-hoo!”
If you can, by all means, go for it.
How Did I Fall In Love With You, Backstreet Boys; and Making Love For Fun, Enrique Iglesias; at EverythingValentinesDay.com (http://www.everythingvalentinesday.com/love-songs.html).
I don’t even know these two songs, and I couldn’t even be bothered to YouTube ‘em. The titles are just SO romantic.
Songs you can sing
Now for the third and final part of this free lesson: old-school love songs that will touch… that girl’s heart, and ain’t too hard for you to learn off the Net.
You Are So Beautiful has been sung by a million people, but you should check out the Ray Charles version. The beauty of the song is in its simplicity – you’ll have no problem picking it up. There are a couple of fourth minors, dominant sevens and major sevens in this one, but if you put in enough practice, the results will be very pleasant. Check out the song here on YouTube.
Ribbon in the Sky by Stevie Wonder sounds really impressive if you can pull it off, but it actually has only like four chords in it and is romantic as hell. There are a couple of key changes where the songs goes up a half-step, and that could be a bit tricky to play, but you could always just do the whole song in the same key. Here’s the original music video, but there are many cover versions on YouTube you can learn how to play the song from.
Lovin’ You by Minnie Ripperton is also a four chord song, and they’re all played in the same descending progression, so there’s no reason why you can’t play this. Leave out the crazy falsetto part though… Check out the super cool old school video here.
So there you go! Let me know how your V-Day serenading goes, ok?