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Photo: Andrew Zuckerman

Jesse Carmichael of Maroon 5’s Valentine’s Day Playlist

By Aileen Kwun
February 8, 2020
3 minute read

With Valentine’s Day on the way, singer-songwriter Jesse Carmichael, the keyboardist and rhythm guitarist of Maroon 5 (and a sometime collaborator of The Slowdown), shares a playlist featuring a few of his favorite love songs.

“Introduction Into the Fine and Mellow,” Billie Holiday

Billie Holiday and an amazing ensemble of musicians play this fine and mellow rendition of an honest love song. Check out the live performance this recording was made from, on the 1957 CBS TV show The Sound of Jazz.

“This Will Be Our Year,” The Zombies

An optimistic take for the next twelve months and the strength that love can bring. Very relevant in 2020.

“God Only Knows,” The Beach Boys

A mandatory inclusion for any love song playlist.

“You’re So Cool,” Hans Zimmer

Hans Zimmer’s lovely homage to Carl Orff’s ‘Gassenhauer.’ From the movie True Romance, a very sentimental—and very violent—take on love.

“If It’s Magic,” Stevie Wonder

Stevie Wonder is magic, and this song is beautiful. Harp by Dorothy Ashby. Amen.

“That Old Feeling,” Chet Baker

Chet Baker and his band putting the cool into West Coast jazz. This vocal performance is laidback and swinging, as is the piano solo by Russ Freeman.

“Silly Love Songs,” Wings

Paul McCartney and Wings ask an important question: "Some people wanna fill the world with silly love songs… and what’s wrong with that?"

“You’ve Got a Friend in Me,” Randy Newman

What’s better than true friendship?

“Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You,” Lauryn Hill

Lauryn Hill made us [Maroon 5] want to make our first album, Songs About Jane, sound like it did. This is her version of Bob Crewe and Bob Gaudio’s epic song, made famous originally by Frankie Valli (Gaudio was in The Four Seasons).

“First Day of My Life,” Bright Eyes

Sweet love song alert, from a great singer-songwriter, Conor Oberst (keep a lookout for new music from Bright Eyes). I love the video for this song, which features couples listening on headphones together.

“Hannah Hunt,” Vampire Weekend

Vampire Weekend is one of my faves. And this song is so well produced and performed.

“Alma,” Jonny Greenwood

From Jonny Greenwood’s awesome score to Phantom Thread by Paul Thomas Anderson, a very deep movie on the subject of love. The composition features call and response—a good metaphor for love.

“As Time Goes By,” Harry Nilsson

This orchestral album by Harry Nilsson is one of the greats. Similar to Greenwood’s score, there’s a lushness to the orchestration here—and what a vocal, performed live with the orchestra.

“Tristan and Isolde, WWV 90: Prelude and Liebestod,” Richard Wagner

Also something similar going on here in the chromatic orchestration of this passionate masterpiece by Richard Wagner, from his opera based on the mythological story that inspired the star-crossed lovers Romeo and Juliet. Is it a tale of love or addiction? What is love? Why do you humans cry? The A.I. machines WANT TO KNOW.