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To get in the mood for Valentine’s Day, I needed a bit more than the handfuls of short stem roses I was able to bring home from work. With Nat King Cole’s unforgettable voice echoing “L-O-V-E” in my head all evening, I clicked open iTunes and began compiling a list of my favorite love songs. Well, that playlist quickly grew 8 hours long, but I wanted to share some of the most special with you. For the puppy-lovers, serious romantics, broken-hearted and anyone in between, here is a peak at 20 of my favorite Valentine’s Day songs in 2012.

L-O-V-E, Nat King Cole: His voice is endearing and warm, like being wrapped in a fuzzy blanket. This song makes me want to dance and smile. Nat King Cole makes an important message so simple to express.

Something’s Got A Hold On Me, Etta James: Few can match her vocal strength, though she influenced many. Etta James was a woman in rock who constantly referred back to the roots of blues and gospel. This is one of my favorites from her collection.

I Can Hear Music, The Beach Boys: At some point in the last four years, my boyfriend and I tried to find “our song” (and he wasn’t willing to settle for Taylor Swift’s version). This was our unanimous decision. It is so uplifting, honest, happy, bright… really just a perfect song for us.

To Know Him Is to Love Him, Amy Winehouse: This is modern day blues. Winehouse inserted so much emotion into her music. She felt the words, and thus was able to move the audience as well.

La Vie En Rose, Edith Piaf: With the melodious voice of a sparrow, Piaf rose to a level of national admiration. To many, she was the voice of Paris. “La Vie En Rose” literally translates to “life in pink,” but the lyrics to what is perhaps her most famous song are singing about how love creates rose-colored glasses to see life. Listen to the Louis Armstrong version, too!

I’ll Be Seeing You, Billie Holiday: What’s a list of love songs without mention of the classic melodies from Billie Holiday? This song became an anthem for lovers serving overseas during World War II. For those who can’t be together on Valentine’s Day, “I’ll Be Seeing You” offers a mix of imagination and nostalgia to connect two souls, though they may be miles apart.

I Will Always Love You, Whitney Houston: One of my favorite songs by Whitney Houston that always brings tears to my eyes. The chorus is so touching and filled with emotion, yet her vocals remain controlled in a way only a truly talented artist could accomplish. Another great loss in 2012.

Wonderful Tonight, Eric Clapton: I cannot wait to have an evening unfold like the lyrics to this song. He is nervous and stressed, but she performs beautifully by his side. A sense of unconditional love and dependency resonates. And I’d love to hear I was wonderful.

If Not For You, Bob Dylan: Being in the right relationship can improve your world and outlook on life. “I’d be sad and blue if not for you,” Dylan sings. I believe it is important to be with someone who can improve you and help you reach your highest potential.

Single Ladies, Beyoncé: Pick your head up, single ladies. This diva’s hit makes my list, because we must refuse to let that broken love hold us down. It is about empowerment and how you don’t need a man to define you. Plus, everyone should learn her dance!

Wouldn’t It Be Nice, The Beach Boys: This is a timely choice, since I am a few months shy of college graduation. Students are always thinking ahead: Wouldn’t it be nice to be done with homework, to finally put into practice what years of education have taught? Wouldn’t it be nice to stop thinking about a future home with your Bernese mountain dog and perfect husband and just have it? Well, yes, but there’s a more important message: Soon enough, you will be exactly where you want to be. So enjoy each day as life flies by.

Here are some more of my favorite Valentine’s Day songs. Enjoy!

Be My Baby, The Ronettes

As Time Goes By, Dooley Wilson (from Casablanca)

Can’t Help Falling In Love, Elvis Presley

I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch), The Four Tops

You’re the One, The Vogues

Let’s Stay Together, Al Green

Beast of Burden, The Rolling Stones

Dedicated to the One I Love, The Mamas & The Papas

Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You, Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons

I Say A Little Prayer, Dionne Warwick (Remember My Best Friend’s Wedding?)

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