Nadia Elkharadly: Unconventional Love Songs

Nadia LogoHappy upcoming Valentine’s Day!  But more importantly, it’s my dad’s birthday!  So happy birthday Daddy (hey, if it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t’ be here to write these words for all of you!

I first got the idea for this column while listening to CBC Radio 2 one morning on the way to work.  The always entertaining Tom Power was introducing this song, and said that a guy could request this song for his girlfriend on Valentine’s day, but only if that girl  was very, very cool.  That was because this song isn’t a traditional love song, but it’s still sweet and romantic.

That song was “my Girl” by Yukon Blonde.  I have to say I would be stoked to have that song dedicated to me on Valentine’s Day.  I guess that makes me a cool chick?  But moreover, it got me to thinking about love songs, and unconventional love songs, and of course Canadian indie love songs.  So I’ll credit Mr. Power with the first song on the list:

Yukon Blonde – My Girl

It’s not soft or slow, but upbeat and fun.  This is the kind of song you’d shake your hair out and dance to, all the while sporting a big smile on your face.  If you want to keep Valentine’s day light and fun this year, than this is the song for you.

Feist – Inside + Out (Apostle of Hustle Unmix)

If I ever got married, I think this would be my wedding song.  Yes, it’s slow, yes there’s not much of a beat, but I don’t care.   Leslie Feist’s voice is so soft yet strong – it’s like she’s singing directly to you.  With just the guitar in the background, this song is the ultimate in intimacy.

There’s nothing more romantic than that song to me.  It’s what Valentine’s Day should be about.

Matt Dusk

Canadian crooner Matt Dusk has put together a tribute album to jazz great Chet Baker (The Chet Baker Songbook) and it includes this beautiful rendition of the trumpeter’s most well-known song.  With Valentine in the title, I get away with putting the song on this list, but I’ll confess that it’s because I’ve become a brand new fan of Matt Dusk.  I got the chance to interview him a few days ago, and he is probably one of the sweetest people I’ve ever met.  He’s completely charming in the most adorable way, especially when he talks about his first true love; jazz music.  Dusk has had a love affair with jazz since attending choir school as a kid, and that first love deserves to be celebrated on Valentine’s Day.

(Dusk’s record comes out February 12)

White Cowbell Oklahoma – Put the South in your Mouth

This is a list of unconventional music, and White Cowbell Oklahoma is anything but conventional.  “Put the South in your Mouth” is a fan favourite, and it in keeping with the Valentine’s Day theme, it definitely celebrates the kind of love everyone could use more of.  This song is for the redneck romantic in you, who shirks poetry and sly advances for the direct approach.  It’s rough, it’s manly, it’s dirty, and it’s country.  I know I’m not the only woman out there who’s sick of the metrosexual preppy hipster types that roam around this city.  Sometimes a woman doesn’t want to be swept off her feet – she wants to be picked up and tossed around a dancefloor by a cowboy.

Hey Rosetta – Red Heart

This is a very literal take on a Valentine’s Day Song, at a kindergarten level.  From the East Coast band’s record Into Your Lungs, it’s not so much romantic as entreating, and subsequently hopeful.  And most of all, it’s beautiful.

The song is lively and passionate, full of pounding percussives, violins, guitars, keys and vocals upon vocals layered together.  It’s a killer song, and most definitely not a typical love song.  But since there are red hearts littering the world right now, it’s still incredibly apt for Valentine’s Day.

Bedoin Soundclash ft. Coeur de Pirate – Brutal Hearts

I have never really been a Bedoin Soundclash fan.  Malinowski’s voice tends to grate on my last nerve, so I was surprised when I heard this song and didn’t want to burst my own eardrums.  I’ll chalk it up to the irresistibly coy and sweet voice of Beatrice Pirate.

I just love her voice.  This song speaks to my commitment phobic and unromantic side by being sensual yet definitely not romantic in the traditional sense.  It’s a love song from an emotionally unavailable person who wants nothing to do with love, to an extremely self-aware , sad, hopeful dreamer.  Essentially, it’s a very sad, yet very present day love song.  But the best part is unless you listen to the word’s closely, this overly realistic portrayal of love masquerades as a sweet, loving duet between two sweet voiced people.  It’s the candy coating to the Valentine’s Day’s bitter dark chocolate.

Macklemore and Ryan Lewis ft. Mary Lambert – Same Love

While Macklemore, Ryan Lewis and Mary Lambert are American, I couldn’t’ leave this song off my list.  It sucks that in this day and age same sex love and romance is still at odds with so many people’s world view.  But with each passing day people are looking into their hearts and souls and finding fear and resentment replaced with acceptance and even encouragement.  Songs like “Same Love” pave the way for that acceptance to grow.  Written by the musical comedy duo Macklemore and Ryan Lewis (Thrift Shop) with lyrical and vocal assistance from acclaimed poet and author Mary Lambert, this song has the power to tug on even the tightest heartstrings.

The video tells the visual story the song already tells so very well, and I’ll admit it brought many a tear to my eye.  If the point of Valentine’s Day is to celebrate love, then it should be to celebrate every kind of love for every kind of person.  While this song may be considered unconventional by some, I think it spells out a growing hope for the future, where everyone loves who they want, how they want, openly and happily.  Happy Valentine’s Day J

Until next time,




Nadia’s column appears every Tuesday

Contact us at:

DBAWIS ButtonNadia Elkharadly is a Toronto based writer with a serious addiction to music. Corporate drone by day, renegade rocker by night, writing is her creative outlet.  Nadia writes for the Examiner (.com) on live music in Toronto and Indie Music in Canada.  She has never been in a band but plays an awesome air guitar and also the tambourine.  Check in every Tuesday for musings about music, love, life and whatever else that comes to mind.

2 Responses to “Nadia Elkharadly: Unconventional Love Songs”

  1. Marlene Schuler Says:

    Nadia thank you for this heartfelt, loving and warm Valentine’s gift! Oh and by the way my Daddy turns 92 on February 14. xxx

  2. thanks Marlene! happy birthday to both our dads tomorrow!

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