Is romance ever easy to find? Only in song. We asked a diverse panel of local musical artists and experts to give us their can’t-miss soundtracks of love—and to explain what makes them so sexy. If you’re with someone special and looking to enhance the moment with the appropriate aural pleasure, try these on for sighs.
by Noah Isackson
Owner, The Empty Bottle
“Paradise by the Dashboard Light” by Meatloaf: Ahhhh, romance. . . . Bat Out of Hell was the album I was listening to while dating my first love. I would hop on my bike and could get to the gal’s house before the tape was over. Then we would listen to it again with the lights down low. “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” is about a couple trying to decide if they’re gonna do it. Does it get any more romantic than that?
FRANK E. LEE
DJ, 93.1 WXRT
"Can't You Hear Me Knocking" by The Rolling Stones: They didn’t invent the hot and nasty—they just perfected it. Bonus: over seven minutes long
Singer and guitarist, Ezra Furman and the Harpoons
"Strawberry" by Paul Baribeau: If you’re wondering if you’re really in love, listen to this song. If this is how you feel, you’re in it, baby.
Announcer, 98.7 WFMT
"Mild Und Leise Wie Er Lächelt" (Isolde's Liebestod), from Tristan und Isolde: Tristan und Isolde is the ultimate story of erotic obsession and romantic love. No other piece of music can match this opera for the expression of unbridled desire. Isolde’s final aria in Act 3 is the kind of catharsis opera fans become addicted to.
"Orange Moon" by Erykah Badu: I danced to this tune as my first dance at my wedding. It just feels like love to me—the mood of the song, the sweetness.
Radio personality, 107.5 WGCI-FM and 103.5 Kiss-FM
"Part of the List" by Ne-Yo: My favorite song on his new album, Year of the Gentleman, which is one of the best albums in years. This song is about reconnecting with an ex, and it’s also about being passionately in love with life.
"So In Love" by Cole Porter: While the song has Porteresque “stylish” elements that make it also fun, the last eight bars are devastating! As effective as any aria in opera, these eight bars harmonically, melodically, and textually convey the absolute essence of love.
Lead singer, Kill Hannah
"In Your Eyes" by Peter Gabriel: This whole album, So, is so epic and lush it’s not even fair—a record that sets the bar in expressing matters of the human heart. If Beethoven had been writing synth-pop songs in the 1980s and doing a little blow, “In Your Eyes” would be the music for his immortal beloved. Listen with care—the song induces hickeys.
"Sweet Little Angel" by B.B. King: This man was sitting at the bar at Legends a few years ago, asking me why the blues are so sad. I said, “Do you think B.B. King was sad when he sang, ‘I got a sweet little angel / I love the way she
spread her wings’?”
Instructor, Old Town School of Folk Music
"Put It Off Until Tomorrow" by Dolly Parton: In the desperate love songs genre, this one always gets high praise. A lover pleads not to have one more hot coal of hurt placed on her today but to please “stay, stay just one more day.” You can hear the tears and heartbreak in the singing.