“Hey Jude, I Just Want To Hold Your Hand”

I feel it in my fingers. I feel it in my toes. Love is all around me. And, as this article will show, we should celebrate that! Yay for Valentine’s Day! But what makes Valentine’s Day special? I guess it depends on each individual’s wants and desires. Some like flowers, chocolate and bubble baths. Others like adventurous days out exploring with a loved one. I’ve heard rumours that sometimes sexual intimacy can be enjoyable. Personally, I just wanna watch soccer and eat ice cream. But that’s probably why I’m single and alone…

Anyway, those of you who do have a romantic engagement with a significant other, will undoubtedly need to “set the mood” at one stage of the weekend or another. Now, I know my fellow Brits and I are often mocked for a variety of reasons. We have bad teeth. We “lost” the Revolutionary War (we let you Americans win). We can’t do anything on the global stage without the support of the USA. And we never do well in sports. But I submit to you, one thing we are good at is romance.

There is an element of charm in our little set of countries. Yep, there are four countries in my country””just go with it. From north to south, east to west, we love a romantic story. Whether that be a royal wedding, the underdog triumphing over the clear favourite or just someone fulfilling their dreams, we love the joy a love story can bring.

I know many of you Texans love this stuff as well. Country music is essentially sappy love songs over a guitar. I should say, I’m all in favor of a little bit of Luke Bryan telling me I can crash his party, or Taylor Swift telling me I can write my name in her blank space (coincidentally, “Oh my God, look at that face, you look like my next mistake” is the most relatable line in music right now). But, there is more out there, more than you are aware exists!

So, I thought I might introduce you romantic Americans to some truly wonderful love songs and romantic artists that you might not have heard of before. Clearly, I can’t play you the songs through the medium of the Trinitonian, so I will attempt to describe the artists and their work as vividly as possible, throwing in some lyrics here and there to hopefully persuade you to do some research and listening on your own!

For starters, I’ve learned that lots of Americans like accents from the U.K. Well, let’s get started with some Irish guys then! OK, so technically they’re not from the U.K., but Westlife is still one of the most successful boy bands in U.K. music history. Their career spanned 14 years (1998-2012) and included 14 number one singles, and some of them are exceptional. “Queen of my Heart” (“I’ll always look back, as I walk away, this memory will last for eternity, and all of our tears will be lost in the rain, when I find my way back to your arms again”) is a real tearjerker. I’ve always thought it would be the perfect song for a romantic goodbye kiss in a movie. Rain pouring, running back into one another’s arms. It’s a beautiful image. Also, check out “Evergreen” and “Flying Without Wings” which have been covered by so many people now that you’ve probably heard at least one version. Their lovely, little, leprechauny Irish voices make listening pleasurable, and with some nice backing tracks, Westlife is perfect to stick on when you’re just chilling with that special one.

Craig David was huge in the late “˜90s and early 2000s. His slick vocals over smooth R&B pop beats is a winning combo for sure. There are many highlights in his back catalog. “Fill Me In” (“Midnight, returned, Jacuzzi turned on, can you fill me in?”) was a classic illicit love-affair tune. The “7 Days” chorus explains just how Craig seduced his lady friend in exactly one week. He sings, “Met this girl on Monday, took her for a drink on Tuesday, we were making love by Wednesday, and on Thursday and Friday and Saturday, we chilled on Sunday,” showing that just “˜cause you don’t put out on the first date doesn’t mean you won’t get some pretty soon after. Mr. David wastes no time. Perfect for the gentleman who loves a bit of charismatic charm, yet also has a soft, emotional side.

East 17 was somewhat of a one-hit wonder””at least in the history books””but listen to “Stay Another Day” and I dare you not to feel emotionally drained afterward. It was a Christmas number one in 1994 in the UK with an iconic video of all members of the boy band wearing nonsense white parka jackets. This song is a classic that still garners serious air time on the radio at Xmas and all year long on my iPod: “Oh, don’t leave me alone like this, don’t you say it’s the final kiss, won’t you stay another day?” Perfect for an apology or bemoaning a long-distance relationship. This will soothe your pain.

McFly is a bit more multi-purpose. Essentially a four-piece pop band (though they’d claim some rock influences), McFly was always praised for writing their own songs and playing their own instruments. Almost every single they ever released is an absolute gem. “All About You” (“So hold me close and say three words like you used to do, dancing on the kitchen tiles, it’s all about you!”) is a beautifully low-key and relaxed song that will not fail to bring a smile to your face. Obviously, I can’t forget “Obviously” which revolves around a guy pining after a girl he wishes he could have, even though “obviously, she’s out of my league.” I’m sure many of us have had that feeling. It’s a great song though. They have a few silly lines mixed in with the good ones too, such as in “Star Girl” when the lead singer chimes, “There’s nothing on Earth that could save us, when I fell in love with Uranus.” Questionable at best. But the catchiness of their melodies and the nice, down-to-earth nature of their songs means that they are a must-listen for any true romantic. And guys, if you want to see why you will never be the most romantic guy in the world, no matter how hard you try, search “McFly wedding speech” into YouTube. Girls, please don’t, it will give you an unrealistic idea of how romantic most men are (But do though, it’s awesome).

“Baby, you light up my world like nobody else!” You didn’t really think I’d write an article about UK love songs and not mention my main men, One Direction, did you? I love this lot because they give me an instant way to connect with lot of girls over here. White lies I’ve told relating to 1D include: I went to school with Harry Styles, I originally wrote “What Makes You Beautiful,” I was an original member of the band but split off due to creative differences, I was replaced by Niall (Irish wanker) and many more. It’s pretty fun. But onto the music. There’s just the right amount of balance between cheesy charm (“So, tell me girl if everytime we touch, you get this kind of rush”) and utterly stupid, fake anecdotes that make zero sense (“Said her name was Georgia Rose, and her Daddy was a dentist, said I had a dirty mouth, but she kissed me like she meant it”). These two elements alone make for some special songs to woo someone with. They’re my boys. And, all jokes aside, their music might not be to everyone’s taste, but as a Brit, they conjure up a real sense of pride for me when you see how favorably they are viewed across the globe. I wish Coach McGinlay hadn’t persuaded me to quit the band to pursue my soccer career at Trinity after all.

Have a wonderful Valentine’s Day weekend, whoever you choose to share it with. Listen to these musical recommendations! You never know: they might inspire something inside of you. Stay safe. Buy her flowers and chocolates. Buy him them, too, so I don’t appear to be assigning gender roles to these gifts. Everybody love everybody, regardless of sexual orientation or anything else that could be used discriminatorily. And why not bite the bullet and tell that special girl or guy that you like them?! What have you got to lose? So here goes… I think you’re incredibly beautiful and we’d be an absolutely amazing couple. You know who you are.