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Music to Fall in Love With

We asked NPR listeners to tell us their favorite love songs for Valentine's Day. They responded in droves, posting to the All Songs Considered blog. On this edition of All Songs Considered we share some of those songs and the stories behind them. Hear a mix of music to fall in love with, from the Magnetic Fields and Arcade Fire to the Temptations and Sam Cooke.

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Magnetic Fields

"When I hear those first few strummed chords, and cannot help but cry, I know that my favorite love song is 'Nothing Matters When We're Dancing.' The lonely ukulele and the beautiful, soaring vocals, make me feel like I'm slow dancing, dumb in love, staring in to the eyes of my girlfriend. And it get's me talking like an absolute cheeseball." -- Matt

Sam Cooke

"In my experience nothing has made my girlfriend I spontaneously break out in to a mid-dinner dance than Sam Cooke's 'Bring It On Home.' This song has the right amount of groove and enticing pleading to create a very lovable and energetic break from the rest of the day." -- Ryan

Arcade Fire

"I enjoy this song because it speaks of falling out of love and restoring love. It goes from desperate to hopeful. For me this song embodies the emotions that the trials of love often can bring." -- Alexis

The Decemberists

"I love 'Clementine' by the Decemberists. They're just so in love with language and with story-telling. How can you not be charmed by the idea of 'kickabout hearts?'" -- Delynn

Death Cab for Cutie

"Nothing is more delicate or sincere than the chorus: 'If heaven and hell decide that they both are satisfied, illuminate the NOs on their vacancy signs, if there's no one beside you when your soul embarks, I will follow you into the dark.'" -- Ashley

The Temptations

"There is a splendid sweetness and soothing sound from the vocals of the Temptations in 'Just My Imagination.' When I met my husband over 30 years ago this song was popular and said it all for me then and now." -- Linda

Jimmy Durante

"I was home from college last summer, and one evening my parents and I were eating dinner outside in the garden. In an odd generation twist, I had introduced them to Jimmy Durante and we were listening to an album of his when this track came on. I remember watching my parents sit there, listening to how beautiful the song was, and the moment was so peaceful that I couldn't help but think about how much I love them both and how much their love in return means to me. For the rest of my life I will think about them when I hear this song, and one day when they aren't around anymore, I'll do exactly as the lyrics say because they are such a huge part of me. And on Valentine's Day, it's a nice reminder that you don't need to be in a relationship to feel loved -- and I have my parents to thank for that." -- Tamara

Regina Spektor

"This song can lift my mood, no matter how high or low it was previously. The proof: about a week ago, I was storming home, hungry and tired. It was cold and raining hard, and I didn't have an umbrella. My only thought was to get home and I didn't care who I knocked down as I ran. Then 'Real Love' started playing on my iPod. Immediately I slowed down, within a block I was enjoying the feel of rain on my face, and I arrived home with a smile on my face. A song that makes you love January rain? Pretty damn good." -- Lauren

Bert Jansch

"Ahh I think Bert Jansch's 'Courting Blues' is K-rad. Most certainly one of my favorite love songs. Listen to it while looking at someone you're fond of and they're all the more beautiful." -- Hannah

Brian Eno

"I don't know if I would call it my favorite love song per se, but the song that immediately came to mind was 'I'll Come Running' by Brian Eno. To the extent love is mutual, the lyrics are more about yearning. Still, I think of love whenever I hear this song (particularly the instrumental part) and my heart inevitably beats a little faster." -- Pablo

Lucinda Williams

"I recently had to put my grandmother to sleep from a long bout with cancer as fluid was rising to her throat, and I can only imagine what my mother must go through to try to sleep each night, after, for weeks, barely stirring so as to carefully listen to her mother's breathing through the night. I know only that that call which Williams returns to repeatedly, facing sometimes the impossibility of a response, asks the only thing i want to know, absolutely -- just hear sometimes -- from someone I love who is frequently gone." -- Cortnay

Beach Boys

"I put it on a mixtape for a girl I was desperately in love with when I was 24. Although she's married, we're still very close friends, and occasionally one of us mentions this song to the other." -- Steven

Talking Heads

"David Byrne calls it the first love song he ever wrote and I would say it is my fave song of his. Lyrics like 'you love me still my heart stops/love me til i'm dead' and 'out of all those kinds of people/you've got a face with a view' bring tears to my eyes. His voice has such desperation in it. I used to bebop around the house listening to this song with my dad not really thinking about how much emotion there was in it." -- Allison


"I absolutely love U2's 'All I Want is You.' What a great title. What a great love song. I would absolutely melt if someone special said that to me and really meant it. -- Holly

John Coltrane with Johnny Hartman

"Anything off of the 1963 recording of John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman is a perfect addition to a Valentine's Day soundtrack. With Coltrane's expertly improvised solos and fills behind Johnny Hartman's smooth, silky, sultry baritone voice, it's enough to make the heart melt. Just listen to the opening track, 'They Say It's Wonderful,' and whether you're in love or not, you'll take Johnny's word for it how wonderful it is." -- Trevor

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