Valentine's Day is just a week away, and since few things beat the gift of music we asked some of our friends to recommend their go-to albums to set the lovin’ mood. What we got was an eclectic mix ranging from Linda Ronstadt to Larry Heard — some familiar favorites and lots of new gems. So, whether its for that special someone or yourself, dig in and enjoy.
Linda Ronstadt - Don't Cry Now
I'm obsessed with her right now. Something about this album hits me in all the right places. It's got love, loss, lust... and those melodies are timeless. As a single 27-year-old, her version of "Desperado" gets me every time.
— Dan Vidmar, Shy Girls
Marlena Shaw - Out of Different Bags / Spice of Life
This kaleidoscopic pairing of albums deals with love from many angles. Standouts for me are "It Sure Is Groovy" for its contagious feel-goodness and Marlena's version of "California Soul", which grooves harder and embodies the soul of the song better than any other.
— Anthony Ferraro, Astronauts, etc.
MARINE GIRLS - Lazy Ways
Really great female-fronted, early '80s post-punk from the UK. There are tinges of romantic melancholy, but those are overpowered with stronger vibes of serenity and bliss. Lazy Ways has a cover of the famous romance ode "Fever" on it, which is a Valentine's Day heater for sure.
— Peter Nussbaum, creative director Crap Eyewear
Craig David - Born to Do It
Craig David’s Born To Do It has three of what I would argue are the sexiest tracks of all time ("Rendezvous," "Fill Me In," "7 Days"). The tunes are elegant, with subtle nylon strings and Craig’s voice effortlessly gliding over early-2000 electronic beats. The only snag is that Zinzi hates Craig David, which means this rendezvous is just between me and Craig.
— Jesse Kivel, Kisses
Bjork - Homogenic
It's a uniquely erotic and adventurous album. The third song, “Unravel,” may be my favorite song about love and longing in the entire world.
— Hannah Hooper, Grouplove
Minnie Riperton - Come to My Garden
Every song is incredible. A lot of "sexy" music sounds so corny to me, but Come To My Garden is next level with its sexiness. Profound and pretty and elegant. Orchestral soul meets soft pop with touches of jazz and light psych. And Minnie's voice couldn't be more on point.
— Eric Steuer, Meanest Man Contest & Not the 1s
Beach Boys - Pet Sounds
Pet Sounds is number one because of the amazingly colorful music. It's also number one because of the lyrics — there's love in the happiness and love in the pain. Brian Wilson & Co. sing of a love that is almost unbelievable — it's a good record to give the person you can't believe is by your side.
— John Gudenzi, Quantum Keys
Otis Redding - Love Songs
Otis makes life sound the way that we wish it always was; bright, bouncy, bushy tailed, full of love and optimism. Even when you screw it all up, you can just feel you are going to get the girl of your dreams back in no time. Released and compiled posthumously, this album provides the atmosphere you want to get lost in with your lover.
— Taylor Rice, Local Natives
Larry Heard - Sceneries Not Songs, Volume 1
This is a tip for ladies mostly, because I think guys my age would be genuinely stunned if you put them onto this Larry Heard record. Like most of the content, "Summertime Breeze" will set a new age romantic tone that can really work for you. The cosmic fantasy cover art is also very good.
- Michael David, Classixx
Al Green - Let's Stay Together
There's nothing more romantic than playing this record while throwing your mac down on a lady friend. Let your lady know you have soul and style by spinning this collection of wall to wall baby-making jams.
— Jacob Summers, Avid Dancer
Charlotte Gainsbourg - 5:55
Gainsbourg’s delicate, whispery voice, combined with compositions by Air and Jarvis Cocker, make for sultry, lush and sensitive songs; perfect for your sensual sweetheart. This is the perfect album to put on when the pots are a boilin' and things are getting steamy.
— Sarah Chernoff, Superhumanoids
Percy Sledge - Warm & Tender Soul
To me, Percy Sledge's sophomore album, Warm & Tender Soul, is the most underrated soul album around. The backing vocals on track "It Tears Me Up" alone are enough to put this record in the romance hall of fame. It's sweet, it's salty, it's gritty. Everything I like in romantic songs. This album is a gem.
— Darren Weiss, PAPA
Wild Nothing - Nocturne
This is a beautiful album full of hazy, timeless songs that are a perfect embodiment of young and restless love. Full of vague sentiments and longing, this is an easy listen and perfect background music to any makeout session.
— Caleb Chial, Swim Team
Bettye Swann - Bettye Swann
My fiancee Noelle turned me on to this. We’ve decided "Make Me Yours" is going to be the "first dance" at our wedding. I love my girl, and I love that I'm a music professional, but she shows me music that I love so well.
— Will Abramson, co-founder Yours Truly
Bobby Caldwell - Cat in the Hat
Pretty slick blue-eyed soul. I played this tape for a girl once, took her to Disneyland for her birthday, then she broke up with me when we got back to her house. She was into the album though.
— Kyle Mooney, SNL