Billy Joel is cliché. So are Al Green, Barry White, Mariah Carey and Elton John.
Yes, they all have delivered some of the all-time great love songs. Yet, they won't be found on this list. I was looking for a fresh soundtrack for Valentine's Day, so I asked my Twitter followers to nominate some great recent love songs. I added some of my own picks and voilà -- a distinctly modern Valentine's Day playlist.
Songs listed in suggested order of play:
"Springsteen," Eric Church: An equally contagious and nostalgic country ditty that transports listeners back to the land of first loves and high-school crushes. "Funny how a melody sounds like a memory," Church sings, and thousands nod their heads in agreement.
"The One That Got Away," Katy Perry: An achingly sweet and earnest offering from a woman usually known for party anthems.
"Gotta Be You," One Direction: The English/Irish boy band is this generation's version of 'N Sync and has the love songs to prove it. The band's two studio albums are filled with Valentine's Day-friendly ditties, but this is the most endearing.
"Adorn," Miguel: Looking for the best "bedroom jam" of recent years? Look no further, than this Grammy-nominated track. It's the rare tune that feels both old-school and modern, possessing massive appeal for several generations of listeners.
"Thinkin Bout You," Frank Ocean: It's an utterly gorgeous song, with a hook for the ages and slinky backbeat that just screams "cuddle on the couch." This guy is amazing.
"Stay," Rihanna (featuring Mikky Ekko): Rihanna wants you to "Stay" with her. And, listening to her gorgeous voice on his soft ballad, I can't imagine anyone wanting to be anywhere else.
"Siren Song," Bat for Lashes: This one should appeal to the Tori Amos, Mazzy Star and Bjork fans. It's a deadly serious and exquisitely ethereal love anthem. It's haunting, but in the right way. Definitely end with this one.
Follow Jim Harrington at http://twitter.com/jimthecritic, www.facebook.com/jim.bayareanews and http://blogs.mercurynews.com/aei/category/concerts.