In country music, it's often all about the trucks, beer, and....did I mention trucks? Seriously, thought, it's got a softer side. This Valentine's Day, consider trading in the boot-stompin' party anthems for something a bit more romantic. I've researched top lists of Valentine's Day songs and added some of my personal favourites to bring you the top 10 to play for your significant other today. And if you're really bold, you could even sing them :)
10. Always On My Mind (Willie Nelson)
Brenda Lee recorded this song first in 1972, and it's a romantic classic as bittersweet as some of those Valentine's Day chocolates. The song is an apology and an ask for a second chance, and Nelson's nasally drawl makes it sound even more heartfelt.
9. Stay Stay Stay (Taylor Swift)
T-Swift is best known for her breakup songs, but this one is a pleasant exception. The mandolin-dominated track is a go-lucky ode to the apparently-rare time a relationship ends happily. The line about throwing a phone across the room in a fight is especially funny and realistic.
8. I'd Fall In Love Tonight (Russ Taff)
I learned this song for an anniversary last year, and was impressed with the payoff line in the chorus: "If I didn't already love you, I'd fall in love tonight." Although the ballad is riddled with a few cliches, the melody line has the power to send shivers. And it's cheesy in a sweet sort of way.
7. A Woman Like You (Lee Brice)
This 2012 song was a breakthrough moment for Brice, and is possibly one of the most descriptive and relatable love stories in modern country. He recalls the freedom of being single, but concludes, "I'd take a gold band on my hand/Over being a single man." Even with the uncommon minor chords, it sounds natural on radio.
6. Then (Brad Paisley)
Paisley starts before the beginning of a relationship and walks listeners through marriage and old age. While many mediocre songs do the same thing, the narrator looks back after each stage in a smiling fashion and says, "And I thought I loved you then." Very heartwarming.
5. I Do (Paul Brandt)
Online sources say Brandt wrote I Do for a friend's wedding. His tone and the rise-and-fall of chord progressions create a new atmosphere for listeners, and I love the emphasis on commitment. "No way that this is sinking sand/On the solid rock we'll stand/Forever." It's so fitting I'll overlook the passive writing :)
4. Wildflower (Dean Brody)
I've always thought this song was an underrated winner, but after hearing it live, I was sure. Brody compares his experience before falling in love to "living in a world without colour like an old photograph." This is an extremely personal song, but Brody captures some truths so clearly, such as "what you think are imperfections are what I couldn't live without."
3. Rose Of My Heart (Johnny Cash)
Johnny Cash released this cover after this death, and besides being a Johnny Cash song, it communicates such a timeless message of sticking together through good and bad times. The simple lyrics make it memorable, as does Cash's weary voice.
2. Forever and Ever, Amen (Randy Travis)
I think this is one of those classics even a young audience can enjoy. Travis takes a serious theme and makes it playful with a few funny lines. He says greying hair doesn't matter, because "I ain't in love with your hair." He also makes the statement that true love isn't about looks.
1. When You Say Nothing At All (Alison Krauss)
Some people find this song a little sappy, but I don't see how you can't be moved by Krauss's flawless version. It's a picture of the ideal romance and connection in a relationship. "You say it best when you say nothing at all" (and not in the "shut up" kind of way). The simple imagery makes this song my top pick for Valentine's Day 2014.