Artists in love (or not): MBE Valentine’s Day Special

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Today, KCRW celebrates Valentine’s Day by sharing love song selections from a wide variety of artists — as well as a few tributes to the brokenhearted. Check out what Jim James, Brandi Carlile, First Aid Kit and more have to say about their favorites; and listen to our VDay Spotify playlist with bonus Jason Bentley & Rachel Reynolds selections.

Hear from all the artists in our MBE special here and you can feel the love with the below playlist.

Happy V-Day!

Jim James on “ Every Little Thing About You” by Stevie Wonder

My favorite song that popped into my head when they asked me this question about what my favorite love song is: I love “ Every Little Thing About You” by Stevie Wonder from Music of My Mind. It is kind of the opposite of how I’m feeling right now. I feel more on the sad end of Valentine’s day, but to hear that song fills me with great joy… I mean Stevie Wonder to me is on par with like air and water that’s how important he is as a musical force.

Photo: Brian Lowe (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

Merrill Garbus (Tune-Yards) on “Purple Rain” by Prince

The most romantic love song I can think of – I don’t even know if it’s a love song – but it is “ Purple Rain”;  of course it’s a love song. I can’t think of a better song to put on Valentine’s day. A little bit bittersweet. We miss you Prince, and Nate this one’s for you.

Dan Boeckner (Wolf Parade) on “Cheree” by Suicide

I wanna talk about my favorite break-up song, best song to listen to when you’re down in the dumps about feelings and love and for me it’s “Cheree” by Suicide. There’s just something kind of soft and all encompassing about it but it’s also very emotionally weighty and the drum machine kind of moves it along, so it’s not a static and bleak love song. It’s kind of dancing with tears in your eyes feel. That’s why I love it so, “Cheree” by Suicide; it’s a bummer, but it feels good.

Brandi Carlile on “Your Song” by Elton John

My pick is gonna be “ Your Song” by Elton John and Bernie Taupin. I’ve always loved that song as a love song because it’s so selfless and because it makes me think about the love story of Elton John and Bernie Taupin, and their lifelong friendship. It’s just a really beautiful sentiment. The concept of imagining of how wonderful life is with someone in the world as opposed to someone not in the world is just a really brilliant and really selfless expression. 

Photo: Steven Dewall (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

Ty Segall  on “Me and My Arrow” by Harry Nilsson

A love song I really love is “ Me and My Arrow” by Harry Nilsson, because it makes me think of my dog Fanny and I love my dog and I wish the world was a simpler place where maybe you were an animated child and you were running a field of grass with your dog Arrow and everything was A-ok.

Klara Soderberg (First Aid Kit) on “If Not For You” by Bob Dylan (recorded by George Harrison)

My favorite love song is the song “If Not For You” that was written by Bob Dylan but I think my favorite version is George Harrison’s version (which is on his phenomenal album, All Things Must Pass). It’s my favorite because it’s just really sweet. It’s just nice, sweet, and beautiful and it makes me really happy. I just feel the song. It just exactly explains how you feel when you’re in love.

Who picked what:

Brandi Carlile: Elton John – Your Song
Laura Lee (Khruangbin): Bobby Caldwell – What You Won’t Do for Love
Ty Segall: Harry Nilsson — My Arrow
Jim James: Stevie Wonder — I Love Every Little Thing About You
Wolf Parade (Dan Boeckner): Suicide — Cheree
De Lux: Arcade Fire — Crown of Love
Tune-Yards: Prince — Purple Rain
First Aid Kit (Klara): George Harrison — If Not For You
Phoebe Bridgers: Justin Timberlake — Cry Me a River
Marlon Williams: Smokey Robinson — Tracks of My Tears
Jason Bentley: The Flamingos — I Only Have Eyes For You
Jason Bentley: Nick J.D. Hodgson — Suitable
Jason Bentley: Teddy Thompson — Take Care Of Yourself
Jason Bentley: Charlotte Gainsbourg — Deadly Valentine
Jason Bentley: Lilla Vargen — Downtown
Jason Bentley: Ariel Pink — Feels Like Heaven
Jason Bentley: BADBADNOTGOOD — In Your Eyes (Feat Charlotte Day Wilson / Nosaj Thing remix)
RR: Al Green — I’m So Glad Your Mine
RR: Etta James – I’d Rather Go Blind
RR: Blur — Tender
RR: Rolling Stones — Loving Cup
RR: New Basement Tapes — When I Get My Hands on You