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  • Writer's pictureFolklore: In Session

14 songs to hurt and heal to this Valentines Day.

Oh come on, we all love a love song really...

Be it crushingly melancholic or a feel good anthem about those fizzy feelings you get in your belly when you're a soppy mess, there's a song to fit this valentines day.

You don't need a romantic partner with these songs to keep you company, the cool kids always sit alone in a room listening to love songs at this time of year, join them - and us, as we take you through 14 tracks that we believe to be seriously underrated when it comes to the love bug.

Let's go through the heart-breakers and the heart-healers shall we?



Verdict : Heartbreaker

I never, she never, we never looked back That wasn't what we were good at And when it came to love We were not good enough uh huh

From album that truly put The Lumineers on the map, 'Slow It Down' is one of the best songs from their self-titled debut, despite being overshadowed by the commercial success of 'Ho Hey'. We wanted to kick things off on a note that wasn't too sombre, so check out this live version live on KEXP which for us, highlights exactly what these guys are all about. Verdict remains however, this is a heartbreaker.



Verdict : Definitely, definitely heartbreaker

Some make it, mistake it Some force and some will fake it I never meant to let you down…

I mean let's be honest, we could have picked any of Damien's songs. One of the finest lyricists and melody creators of our generation makes songs so striking and almost difficult to listen to that you can't not be under his spell from the off. His most recent album 'The Greatest Bastard' is as much of an apology record as it is a heartbreak one. Do some digging on the why's and the how's of the album subject and it becomes even more of an alluring record, for all the right and wrong reasons.

Unquestionably a Damien Rice level of heartbreak for this one. Proceed with caution.



Verdict : Heartbreaker

Baby I can't help you out While she is still around

A lonely acceptance of loving wholly and receiving little in return, Fiona Apple's dazzling 'I Know' is an absolute must for this list. Covered last year by King Princess in a collaboration with Fiona to mark it's 20th(!) anniversary and to remind us all what a special song this is. Her live performance above showcases the vulnerability of the song perfectly, dive in and feel wobbly.

It's a heartbreaker... Are you seeing a pattern emerge here?


Horse Feathers - Like Lavender

Verdict : Heartbreaker

And I'll wait, I'll wait. Take a ticket to my own fate. Maybe I'm too late.

Horse Feathers' debut record is as beautiful as it is authentic. This song feels like a 5am cigarette after you've had too many drinks and your throat hurts but you're lighting up another anyway. The strings that come into play will break those with even the coldest of hearts, as ever they are written with the kind of delicate care and intricacy that make this song feel like such a personal attack on your emotions.

This song is more like two heartbreakers than one.


Jeff Buckley - Lover, You Should've Come Over

Verdict : Heartbreaker

So I'll wait for you and I'll burn Will I ever see your sweet return, Or, will I ever learn? Lover, you should've come over

Well, duh.

When we think of all the incredible music that this man could have gone on to make it's enough to break out heart itself. His debut (and only "finished" album) 'Grace' will forever go down as a classic and the emotion that Buckley releases with his vocal has gone on to inspire a whole generation of songwriters. It wasn't a case of whether or not we include Jeff in this list, just a case of which song.

The lyrics are poetry, and it's a stone cold heartbreaker.


Brooke Waggoner - Come Love, See My Hands

Verdict: Heartbreaker

Yeah I put on a shirt and I flirt with my own reflection I've no companion Yeah my toes are sleepy, my eyes are weepy, they fell out And I shoved them in the spout

Taken from her 2008 album 'Heal For The Honey", this track starts off in dramatic fashion with the vocals not coming in until the 1minute mark. Nobody can claim Brooke doesn't create atmosphere and the tension and vocal dynamics build as the song progresses. The cries of the song title towards the song cut through you sharply and it's an emotive vocal that is almost alarming in it's authenticity.

Sorry folks, we've got another heartbreaker.


Keaton Henson - Petrichor

Verdict : Heartbreaker & Heart-healer

Oh come on, you didn't think you were seriously going to get through this without Keaton did you...?

We are somewhat spoilt for choice with Keaton on which track to choose for this list with him having entire albums dedicated to his stories of lost love yet we settled on one track that has no lyrics at all.

Aptly titled 'Romantic Works' Keaton surprised fans by dropping this instrumental beauty in 2014 and fans soon realised that you don't need words to paint a picture.

Sombre in tone but not strictly a heartbreaker, 'contemplative' is probably a more accurate description. Either way, there will be tears.


Cigarettes After Sex - Sweet

Verdict : Heart-healer

It's so sweet, knowing that you love me Though we don't need to say it to each other, sweet Knowing that I love you, and running my fingers through your hair

Few bands create an atmosphere as unique as Cigarettes After Sex. Listening through an album from these guys makes you feel like you are the star of your own movie and the montage that's happening is incredibly gripping.

Asides from creating inner montages for the listener they also write music with intimate and personal lyricism which doesn't hide from how lead vocalist Greg Gonzalez feels. Often celebrating the humour as well as erotic parts of love and relationships, it's refreshingly honest and not just risqué. Sit back, settle in and spin this heart-healer.


Rosie Carney - Awake Me

Verdict : Heart-Healer

Water it flows On deserts you have made The surface breaks Breaks like the bones Your darkness has claimed

Ireland have a pretty strong record when it comes to songwriters, (to put it mildly) especially those that are able to evoke emotions that we weren't quite sure we even had. Rosie Carney has only just turned 23 years old but is making music with a maturity that far surpasses her years. Awake Me is a calm and soothing song that to us, sounds like an ode to love and the feeling of being saved by the connection to someone.

It's an absolute heart-healer folks.


Broken Social Scene - Anthem For A Seventeen-Year Old Girl

Verdict : Heart-Healer

Used to be one of the rotten ones and I liked you for that Now you're all gone, got your make-up on and you're not coming back

Taken from their 2002 album (yes, really) 'You Forgot it in People' is an ode to your younger self and immediately became a cult favourite amongst indie lovers. It brings an immediate sense of nostalgia and longing for the innocence and angst of youth. There's something about this song which, as much as it's not about love out-right, the place it takes you to firmly puts you in that place of first loves and first mistakes.

It's an out of the box heart healer and if you somehow didn't know this track, we welcome it to your playlists on your behalf.


Jacko Hooper - All I Deserve, Is Not You

Verdict : Heart-Healer

To hold you close, is not enough

You're fighting my demons,

I'm running from reason

You may need to read between the lines somewhat to understand the heart-healing aspect of this song but thanks to Jacko's official lyric video, that's a lot easier. A song about feeling unworthy of the love you are receiving yet also a thank you letter to that person for being "their person". Crescendoing with the vocal line from the song title itself around a swirling of trumpets and swelling guitars, it's a powerful and almost cinematic approach to self-doubt but leaves you with a feeling of hope.

Heart-healing is the overall verdict.


Cat Power - Silver Stallion

Verdict - Heart-Healer

I'm gonna find me a reckless man Razor blades and ice in his eyes Just a touch of sadness in his fingers Thunder and lightning in his thighs

Originally sun by The Highway Men, this cover by Cat Power was given a new lease of life when she released it in 2008 as part of her 'Jukebox' album. A playful performance for KCRW by Power is enough to warm your heart in itself with her clearly having fun with her band members as she sings of being independent and making her own choices. Perhaps not a "love song" per-say but one that will definitely leave you feeling empowered if you're looking for a bit of healing.


Fruit Bats - When U Love Somebody

Verdict - Heart-Healer

Baby, remember on the bus and my hand was on your knee When you love somebody it's hard to think about anything but to breathe

Revolving around singer-songwriter Eric D. Johnson, Fruit Bats were originally birthed in 1997 in Chicago and continue to this day (minus a a two year hiatus in 2013). Collaborations with the likes of The Shins, Vetiver and Califone have all occurred throughout the years cementing his work as a an absolute staple of the folk-rock scene. When U Love Somebody does exactly what it says on the tin, a beautiful song that captures the sweetness of what love can deliver to us. It was always going to be a heart-healer.


Iron & Wine - The Trapeze Swinger

Verdict - Heart-Healer

Please, remember me Happily By the rosebush laughing With bruises on my chin

Sam Beam may have never come out right and said what this song is about but it seems to be a song of someone who has passed away and is looking back at their life. Not heart-healer material I hear you cry?! Wrong.

We felt this was the perfect song to end our list as it is just so damn peaceful.... The studio version clocks up to nearly 10minutes and it doesn't even feel half that length. One of the most talented songwriters around since his debut in 2002 has serenaded us through many a moment in our life, we'll leave you with this one and if you don't already know it, let it heal you for the first (of many) times.


Folklore returns on February 18th for our monthly showcase at The White Rabbit

Full details can be found here.

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