Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Sports Karma's Top 10 Valentine's Songs...EVER

Valentine's Day is Thursday, in case you haven't noticed. And frankly, we at Sports Karma have no idea how you couldn't know that Valentine's was near. Unless you are a monk (and you're not getting any anyway, so what would you care?), live under a rock (ditto) or you're a deaf-mute blinded Helen Keller clone, Valentine's Day is as inescapable as death, taxes and Chuck Norris.

Equally as ubiquitious are the crappy Valentine's Day songs. February 14 is the one day out of the year where radio stations drudge up the absolutely most saccharine-sweet love songs. It's the one day of the year where Air Supply gets to fill out a 1040 Form. It's the one day of the year where we are reminded that Taylor Dayne may have had the single worst singing voice in the history of pop music.

Well, Sports Karma can't help you if you're sleeping on the Couch of Shame this Valentine's Day b/c you forgot to buy your significant other a priceless, guilt-driven trinket fueled by a Hallmark Holiday. But we can help you pick the tunes. We at Sports Karma have come up w/ the Top 10 Sports Karma Valentine Songs...EVER. The rules are actually quite simple.

1. It has to have a little grit to it. It can't be so sweet that it could be mistaken for the auditory equivalent of Mountain Dew. There has to be a little bit of an edge to it. The guys on this list are/were a bunch of whiskey-guzzling, chain smoking, occasionally drug-induced, rebellious types. Excluded from this would include Michael Bolton, Kenny G, every boy band that has ever existed and the ever-romantic, Pat Boone. Debby Boone, by the way, isn't up for consideration either.

2. Hair metal power ballads are excluded b/c as gritty as most of those guys were, frankly, the power ballad just tries a little too hard to be sweet. Excluded based on this rule are "More Than Words" by Extreme, "To Be With You" by Mr. Big, "Love Of A Lifetime" by Firehouse, "Is This Love?" by Whitesnake and "Without You" by Motley Crue.

And most importantly...

3. It has to be sincere. The following songs truly do say "I love you" without having to hand over their wallet, their dignity and their testicles. They are earnest and heartfelt, and it never seems like they're overextending themselves. That, to me, is the biggest problem w/ the hair metal power ballads. It seems like a contrived effort at being sweet to their special lady. As a result, it comes off as disingenuous.

Alright, that's enough foreplay. It's time to light some candles, pour the Chilean red wine, put Leo DiCaprio's Romeo & Juliet on the plasma screen, rock some Godiva chocolate, and put the Top 10 Sports Karma Valentine's Songs...EVER on the stereo.

10. Dreams--Van Halen

It's like "Livin' On A Prayer," but w/ way better guitar solos. From the first Sammy Hagar
album, 5150, this is Van Halen's ode to the young couple with big dreams, trying to achieve the American dream. Oh, and Eddie's second solo is completely and totally bitchin'.

9. Calling You--Blue October

Romantic rock from one of Houston's greatest natives, not named Hakeem Olajuwon. This was Blue October's first major radio hit, and it's about the innocence and the unknowing of love. And this from a band that typically writes about how crappy life is, it's pretty remarkable how well they nail the beauty and poignancy of love.

8. I've Got You Under My Skin--Frank Sinatra

Bottom line is this: No one had more swagger, more cool and more class when singing a love song than Frank Sinatra. Period. I will not argue this point. In fact, I think I'll just shut up now before I say anything uncool that Frank would disapprove of.

7. We've Got Tonight--Bob Seger

Maybe the quietest song so far on the list, this is a beautiful song from one of the raspiest voices of rock, Detroit's Bob Seger. It's a tale of two lonely souls finding each other. Neither one want the night to end.

6. Angel--Aerosmith

I've long assumed this was a song about breaking up, not falling in love. But it's our damned list, and we'll do what we damned well want. This is before Aerosmith started writing power ballads permanently, and it's a touching song about getting back together with your special someone...before you make love to them in an elevator.

5. I Will--The Beatles (The DV and Sunday War Beatles pick)

My colleagues lean more to John and Paul, so this is their Beatles pick. Not that there's anything wrong w/ this White Album choice. At least they didn't go w/ "Helter Skelter" or "Why Don't We Do It In Road?"

4. Something--The Beatles (Tray's Beatles pick)

I've always been more of a George Harrison guy, hence why I went w/ this Abbey Road number. See, that's what love is. Sharing and compromise. But George is still cooler. One note, though. There's way too much Yoko in this clip. But I digress.

3. Thank You--Led Zeppelin

It's what every 80s power ballad wanted to be when it grew up. But very few came quite as close to greatness as this did.

2. Sweet Child O' Mine--Guns N' Roses

This would probably be number one on most lists. It's powerful yet restrained. Bold yet pleading. It's one of rock n' roll's greatest riffs, greatest solos and greatest endings. But Axl and Slash aren't #1. Wanna know why?

1. Walk The Line--Johnny Cash

Because they aren't Johnny Freakin' Cash, that's why. This is the song he wrote for June. This is the song that his biopic is based on. He's one of the greatest American singer-songwriters ever. God Bless Johnny Cash. And God Bless you and your special someone this Valentine's Day.