How to make the perfect Valentine's song | Virgin Media
How to make the perfect Valentine's song

How to make the perfect Valentine's songby Matthew Horton



Valentine's Day is just around the corner now (that's Sunday; buy a card), so thoughts will be turning to hearts, flowers, chocolates, spa days and, of course, lovey-dovey playlists.

The last one's easily done – search your music folder for the word 'love', avoiding Manic Street Preachers' The Love Of Richard Nixon – but let's go a little deeper. Let's distil the essence of purest pop love song. Here's one way to go about it.

Prepare your ingredients

Helpfully, only last year Little Mix came up with all the elements you need to make someone fall in love with you, and wedged them into a potion. They include honey (to make him/her sweet), crystal balling (to help him/her see, although heaven knows how you get a crystal ball into a potion) and, er, that's it.

What can we take from it? A catchy chorus, the swooning delivery of "luuuh-uuuve" and a blatant willingness to do absolutely anything (within the bounds of legality, just) to snare your paramour.

Fill it with schmaltz

This is no time to be all tasteful and reserved. This is a time to get so sickly that the object of your affection needs to keep a bowl handy.

In 1984, Stevie Wonder got it right by alienating a devoted fanbase built over two decades' of peerless, pioneering soul and scoring his first ever (and only) UK number one single with four and a quarter minutes of utter goo. Six and a quarter, if you could stomach the album version.

I still bought it though.

Sprinkle a bit of "woe is me"

Valentine's Day isn't just a time of hope, it's a time of bitterness, regret and moaning into your baggy black cardigan too. The Cure combined all this beautifully in 1987. "I found myself alone alone alone above a raging sea," wailed Robert Smith over one of his band's prettiest melodies.

"Spinning on that dizzy edge", he teeters between happiness and desolation. Isn't that just like all of us?

Add some sexytimes

Well, you never know your luck, do you? Ellie Goulding's Love Me Like You Do is particularly good in this respect because it's a bit of a Trojan horse. She's all butter-wouldn't-melt girl-next-door (until she's onstage playing drums in her bra), but we all know what the song's the soundtrack to. It's like a hint.

Mind you, "Every inch of your skin is a holy grail I've got to find" only sounds acceptable until you imagine the Knights of the Round Table charging all over you.

And what do you get?

I don't know – maybe Hot Chocolate's You Sexy Thing? It doesn't matter, because whatever you come up with is going to have Whitney Houston riding rough-shod over it with her earth-scorching cover of Dolly Parton's I Will Always Love You.

Even though it's about the end of a relationship, just bellowing that title will conquer all. It worked for Whitney. No one remembers any other singles from 1992. It's the ultimate Valentine's song, a promise, a threat and a huge hook all rolled into one big heap of heartbreak and desertion. Have a great day.