Ôwî, Tristan - QNTAL
Where better to start than with atmospheric mediaeval electronica flawlessly setting a lament from Isolde to Tristan amid a stunning rising synth mist over the moors. All right, if it's not your thing, it's not your thing, but if it is, this really is perfect.
Late Night - This Mortal Coil
Just one wavering note in the background, over which Caroline Crawley confesses love in an almost childlike, stream-of-consciousness sort of way. Best listened to with your eyes closed in the dark.
Shag Tobacco - Gavin Friday
My favourite song about being in a long-term relationship where you're continually amazed by your partner regardless of how many years you've been together, by everyone's favourite gravel-voiced stalking lion of Irish sex. That's being flippant; this thing is amazing, and one of the sexiest songs you will ever hear, ever. Unless you only like robots (but that's okay - here come IAMX!).
Spit It Out - IAMX
Chris Corner is the sex, okay, I think that's long-since established. Here he is lending his unearthly voice to a gorgeous electronic love song about catharsis and mending what's broken, probably with a bit of the old BDSM. It's beautiful.
Save You - Emilie Autumn
I get it if you can't stand her, it's okay. She's not the best thing that ever happened, or anything. But until someone else writes a song about this, i.e. one that talks about how to stop someone from loving you because you're not good enough for them, because you're nothing, because you're worse than nothing, you're trash, you're the sum of all your past horrifying experiences and they just don't seem to understand how terrible you are, then this will have to be my favourite.
Meet Me On The Equinox - Death Cab For Cutie
This is new to me, and it's possible that sometime in the future it won't tear my heart out of my chest and fly away with it into a better and more beautiful place. It's possible. But right now that's what happens every time I hear it. It's like the one you've always been in love with taking your hand one day and saying, let's go, and then you both just run away and follow train-tracks into the hills and fields of flowers and you never get tired or cold or lost, you can find your way home any time, together. Except that the chorus keeps telling you everything, everything ends, but you ignore it, because it can't be true, can't be, because they're holding your hand.
Cosmic Love - Florence & the Machine
Now is not the time to go on about how much I'm in love with this woman and her storming, phenomenal debut album; for now, just have this (and the other song, later on), an absolutely transcendent song about being in love with someone who's dreadful for you but so wonderful you can't bear to leave them, because you know it's not their fault they're so broken. I still choke up at the amazing starlight backing of the second verse and at hearing her wail out the stars, the moon, they have all been blown out, you've left me in the dark like her voice is the only light for miles and miles and miles.
Drown - The Golden Palominos with Nicole Blackman
Careful. This one could hurt. Nicole Blackman is a poet - an incredible, extraordinary writer with a voice like bathing in black silk - who has done collaborations with Alan Wilder's Recoil (of which more anon) and the Golden Palominos, an entire, horrifyingly beautiful album in the latter case. From which comes this. It is a. It is. It is a blue-green dreamscape murmur of obsession and adoration, a helpless, slow, desperate sinking into something from which you can never escape, but you never wanted to, did you? You always wanted to find a lover like this. Me, lost thing, intoxicated, curled within him, drowning over and over, charmed, disarmed...
The Last Beat Of My Heart (live) - Siouxsie & The Banshees
The Last Beat Of My Heart - Edera
The first is the version from Twice Upon A Time, which I love more than the album version for the sound of Siouxsie hushing the crowd at the beginning and the off-note but very real-sounding pleading in her voice. And the second is a cover that is like Edera found the original as a lovely black dress hanging in the backroom of a traveling theatre company or something, and took it home and patiently sewed jewels and glittery spider-webs of thread to it until it almost glowed, and then packed it in fine tissue paper dusted with gold lustre, wrapped it in velvet and delivered it right to your door.
The Aspidistra Flies - Stars
I don't ever know what to say about this song. It's really obvious, and self-consciously hip, and I never wanted to like it because it's basically embarrassing, but it's so hard to resist a song about being in love with someone in London, that reflects the grey beauty of the city in the rain and how easy it is to make a tiny place that's your own if you put your mind to it. It is unconscionably twee, though. Oh well. :)
Howl - Florence & the Machine
The music of this is good - like running through a forest at night and not being able to stop - but it's the lyrics that I find so devastating. Like some child possessed the beast howls in my veins to find you tear out all your tenderness...be careful of the curse that falls on young lovers - it starts so soft and sweet and turns them to hunter...it's just tremendous, this song, a visceral paean to a fierce wild love that can't be denied or controlled or tamed. And the fact that she's writing stuff like this right now and getting albums into the charts with it is fucking amazing, the end.
Penzance - Patrick Wolf
Well, you all know how I feel about him. This is a B-side, and I'm just going to link you to the lyrics and let you see for yourself why I needed this and why you do, because musically it should go without saying, by now.
Mercy - IAMX
It's that Chris Corner again. Listen, he's sliding the lyrics of this towards you like drops of blood down a razor-blade. Isn't he nice? More seriously, while this is entirely sexual and beautiful in that kind of way, it is worth listening to objectively for the tiny stars of synth in the background and his voice, the way it twists on you make me smile and the high notes blooming like painful flowers over the tangle of electronics beneath. ...'painful flowers'. What am I even talking about, honestly? IAMX make my synaesthesia go into overdrive :) Forgive my nonsense, listen to the song anyway, it's bloody good.
Daniel - Bat For Lashes
You know when you were a kid - if you were that kind of kid, which I was - and you'd read books and there'd be a boy or girl in the book who was like a wild creature, more of the country and the forest than they were human, and they'd never quite manage to court the boy or girl in the book because they couldn't make themselves be human for them, even if they wanted to? And you'd wish that it was you in the book, because you knew if it was you then they wouldn't have to be human, you understood, and you could just both run off into the forest and be there, and no-one would ever be able to find you again, ever? This is that song.
Stalker (radio edit) - recoil
Vile. But awesome. It's basically a musical Criminal Minds episode in which they don't catch the villain at the end. Over a nervous electronic waveform a voice growls, "Pick me up and use me. Pick me up and use me," she was saying...she...she...YOU ARE NOTHING, YOU ARE NOTHING WITHOUT ME. Just what I want on Valentine's Day; YMMV. :)
Washington Square - The Correspondents
I have tried, guys. I've tried to resist this. It annoys me. But it only annoys me because it's so fucking, fucking, fucking brilliant, it's so stupidly fantastic, it's such an inspired concept, smirking white-hot swing for the 21st century sung by someone frankly uncomfortably attractive. What's not to love, in the end? Jesus, it's good. Disgustingly good. I never ever ever want this cliché to stop.