Welcome back to the second (and final) installment of the 40 Best Valentine’s Day Albums Of All Time.
So without further ado, here are the top 20 sexiest and most romantic albums ever made, comprised mostly of alternative rock, funk, soul, electronica and jazz.
I’ll have essential romantic tracks under each entry. If you’d like to own any on Amazon, just click on the album image, or if you prefer iTunes, click on the album titled (highlighted in blue)
Click here for my Ultimate Alternative Valentine’s Day Playlist, for single tracks that fit the occasion.
20. Electric Warrior – T. Rex (1971)
[amazon_image id=”B006HH5Y6K” link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]Electric Warrior[/amazon_image]
Essential Tracks: Mambo Sun, Cosmic Dancer, Jeepster, Bang A Gong (Get It On), Girl, Life’s A Gas
19. TIE: Souvlaki – Slowdive (1993) /Ask Me Tomorrow – Mojave 3 (1995)
[amazon_image id=”B000YV42BI” link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]Souvlaki[/amazon_image][amazon_image id=”B00000IP5F” link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]Ask Me Tomorrow[/amazon_image]
In one corner, the (recently reformed) dream pop group’s swirling set of love drunk tunes. In the other a alt-country folk group featuring Slowdive members Neil Halstead and Rachel Goswell, full of autumnal amorous bliss.
Souvlaki Essential Tracks: Alison, Machine Gun, Dagger, When The Sun Hits, Here She Comes
Ask Me Tomorrow Essential Tracks: Love Songs On The Radio, Candle Song 3, You’re Beautiful, Where Is The Love
18. So– Peter Gabriel (1986)
[amazon_image id=”B008V59AF2″ link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]So (25th Anniversary Remaster)[/amazon_image]
Gabriel ditched prog-rock weirdness for this stately collection of tunes, most of which are his most romantic to date (cue John Cusack raising his boom box):
Essential Tracks: In Your Eyes, Red Rain, Don’t Give Up, Mercy Street
17. xx – The xx (2009)
[amazon_image id=”B002N1AEN2″ link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]XX[/amazon_image]
The British trio’s début album fuses trip-hop, blue-eyed soul and modern electronics into a winning package; the go-to 21st century bedroom music.
Essential Tracks: Shelter, Night Time, Teardrops, Infinity, Stars
16. Achtung Baby – U2 (1991)
[amazon_image id=”B005Y5D7JM” link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]Achtung Baby (Deluxe Edition)[/amazon_image]
Ireland’s biggest band toned down the social commentary in favor of the affairs of the heart with Achtung Baby. It’s Bono at his most lovelorn, remaining the hopeless romantic at all costs (the original album title was Fear Of Women, due to The Edge’s recent divorce).
Essential Tracks: One, So Cruel, Mysterious Ways, Love Is Blindness, Ultraviolet (Light My Way), Who’s Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses
15. Loveless – My Bloody Valentine (1991)
[amazon_image id=”B000002LRJ” link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]Loveless[/amazon_image]
Can’t have a list of best Valentine’s Day albums without this one. Going beyond the obvious inclusion due to the band’s name, Loveless is a warm blanket of amorous emotion. Its fuzz guitar, androgynous vocals and electronic textures create a kaleidoscopic wash of diffuse romance.
Essential Tracks: To Here Knows When, When You Sleep, Sometimes, Blown A Wish, I Only Said
14.( ) – Sigur Rós (2002)
Who knows what exactly Jón Þór Birgisson is singing about in his made-up dialect, but every song on () hits sonorous notes that makes the perfect soundtrack for a soft-focus evening for two.
Essential Tracks: Perfect from start to finish.
13. Hats – The Blue Nile (1989)
[amazon_image id=”B00000I3JO” link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]Hats[/amazon_image]
This Scottish group’s smooth new wave/80’s contemporary sound is perfect for clinking celebratory champagne glasses together and all that comes afterward.Essential Tracks: Over The Hillside, The Downtown Lights, Let’s Go Out Tonight, Headlights On The Parade, Saturday Night
12. Floating Into the Night – Julee Cruise (1989)
[amazon_image id=”B000002LH4″ link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]Floating Into The Night[/amazon_image]
Essential Tracks: Floating, Falling, Mysteries Of Love, Into The Night, The World Spins
[amazon_image id=”B000002LMM” link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]Soundtrack From Twin Peaks[/amazon_image][amazon_image id=”B000001545″ link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]Blue Velvet: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack[/amazon_image]
11. Moon Safari – Air (1998)
Pretty much every Air album is awesome make-out music, but Moon Safari is perhaps their most direct sentiment.
Essential Tracks: La Femme D’Argent, Sexy Boy, Talisman, You Make It Easy, Le Voyage De Penelope
10. Tie: Violator– Depeche Mode (1990) / Ultra – Depeche Mode (1997)
[amazon_image id=”B000002LK1″ link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]Violator[/amazon_image][amazon_image id=”B00I458258″ link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]Ultra (180 Gram Vinyl)[/amazon_image]
Depeche Mode have made an entire career out of slinky electronic sexual grooves, so much so that I couldn’t choose between their commercial peak of Violator or the underrated and understated, lovely Ultra. Both feature their signature themes of love, sex, kink and interconnection.
Violator Essential Tracks (besides the hit singles): World In My Eyes, Sweetest Perfection, Halo, Waiting For The Night, Blue Dress
Ultra Essential Tracks: The Love Thieves, Home, It’s No Good, Sister Of Night, Freestate, Insight
9. Disintegration – The Cure (1989)
[amazon_image id=”B000002H70″ link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]Disintegration[/amazon_image]
The Cure’s finest album is also their most romantic, even if it’s of the doomed variety. Perfect bedroom listening.
Essential Tracks: All of them.
8. Boys and Girls – Bryan Ferry (1985)
The Roxy Music frontman hit his solo stride on this release, with some of the best sexual sugar high torch songs of the 80’s, all topped with his ethereal croon. Plus it has a song called Valentine, so there ya go.
Essential Tracks: Valentine, Slave To Love, Boys And Girls, Swept Away, Don’t Stop The Dance
7. Kind of Blue – Miles Davis (1959)
Even if you’re not a jazz fan, you need Kind Of Blue in your collection. It fits any occasion, especially those of the romantic variety.
Essential Tracks: Blue In Green, Flamenco Sketches, So What, All Blues
6. Number 1’s – Marvin Gaye (2007)
I tried to avoid going with greatest hits comps, but if you want the best Marvin Gaye bedroom tunes, picking one album just won’t work. This Greatest Hits collection has you covered. I just wish it had Trouble Man on there.
Essential Tracks: What’s Going On, Let’s Get It On, Sexual Healing, Mercy, Mercy Me, etc, etc.
5. Dummy – Portishead (1994)
[amazon_image id=”B000001FI7″ link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]Dummy[/amazon_image]
The Trip-Hop masterpiece mixes breakbeats, scratching, James Bond guitar twang and blaxploitation wah-wah, culminating in a lusty (if harrowing) epic.
Essential Tracks: Sour Times, Glory Box, Wandering Star, It’s A Fire, Roads
4. The Hits / The B-Sides – Prince (1993)
Again, I was faced with a dilemma. What’s the sexiest Prince album? At his peak, any of his works would qualify, so just go for the hits collection, with all his best single, deep album cuts, and B-sides (Erotic City, the most notable)
Essential Tracks: Too many to count. All good.
Greatest Hits Honorable Mention:
The Best of The London Suede – The London Suede (2011)
I so badly wanted to include Suede as an official entry, but once again, any/all of their albums could qualify and I ran out of room. By far the most romantic of the Brit-pop set, this greatest hit collection has your romantic interlude more than covered.
3. Mezzanine – Massive Attack (1998)
Massive Attack always makes sexy music, but Mezzanine is their high water mark. It’s foreboding, yet beautiful, sensual and atmospheric, with great vocal work from reggae legend Horace Andy and Cocteau Twins singer Liz Fraser.
Essential Tracks: Angel, Risingson, Teardrop, Inertia Creeps, Dissolved Girl, Man Next Door
2. Love Deluxe – Sade (1992)
Hard to believe that Sade has only produced a meager 6 studio albums since her start in the 80’s. But lovers the world over have made do with her small, yet potent discography, and Love Deluxe ranks among the best.
Essential Tracks: No Ordinary Love, Cherish The Day, I Couldn’t Love You More, Like A Tattoo, Bulletproof Soul
1. Avalon – Roxy Music (1982)
Roxy Music’s final proper studio album has been praised for years for its bedroom powers, and far be it from me to say otherwise. It’s a slow burner from start to finish, mixing glam and new-wave with a soulful sheen. If you’re looking to set the mood, this one never fails.
Essential Tracks: More Than This, Avalon, To Turn You On, The Main Thing, The Space Between, etc, etc…
So there you have it, my list of the 40 best valentine’s day albums, or for that matter, any romantic anniversary or special occasion. As always a few fell through the cracks (apologies to Smashing Pumpkin’s Adore, in particular), but that’s the trouble with finite lists.
Which albums would make your list of most romantic? Tell me in the comments: