1st & 10 is a segment published on the 1st of each month featuring themed “Top 10” lists. Growing up, Sundays were for church and the Green Bay Packers, hence the name of this segment. Check out “Sunday’s Best” to discover the best new songs each week, and “Sunday’s Best – An Introduction” to get to know the inspiration behind this blog!
It’s January. Depending on where you live, it may be snowy, rainy, cold, gloomy, or a terrible mixture of cold, gloomy sleet. The holidays are over, and there are at least two more months of winter left before the sun begins making more regular appearances. Many activities are hindered by the cold, but one is enhanced: cuddling. The more miserable the outside world, the better the cuddles. While silent cuddles are pleasant, sometimes it’s nice to have a little background music. In honor of the coldest month of the year, here are my top 10 cuddle songs:
Though not directly about love, “Padiddle” is still a great cuddle song. Mood-boosting and nostalgic, the song floods all the happiness-inducing areas of the brain. At its base, the song is about a fun night “with your people,” dancing, drinking, and living in the moment. The Stoop Kids beautifully layer it with mandolin and old timey “shabop-shoowops” to create a song that allows the listener’s mind to float to peaceful memories. The line, “baby just drive around, play padiddle” takes me back to the days of scanning oncoming traffic for cars with just one headlight, waiting to punch the car ceiling and yell “padiddle!” Even if padiddle was not part of your childhood though, the song is packed with metaphors and examples that are sure to put a smile on your face.
Like “Padiddle,” the lyrics of “Perfect Day” are a compilation of activities that constitute a fun day (drinking sangria, going to the zoo, seeing a movie). Unlike “Padiddle,” “Perfect Day” is a melancholy love song. There are no lyrics like, “Living in the moment, life is simple.” Instead, the song’s tone is set by lyrics like, “You made me forget myself. I thought I was someone else. Someone good.” The darker lyrics, coupled with Reed’s almost apathetic voice contrast the intensity and passion from the piano and violins. When I finish listening to “Perfect Day,” I often don’t know how I feel, but I know I want to be holding someone I love.
Fall quarter of my freshman year at UC Santa Barbara, I took three courses, but I may as well have taken a fourth: ‘Jack Johnson 101.’ By my senior year, the school’s obsession with one of its most famous alumnus seemed a bit cheesy, but I still admired Jack Johnson’s ability to capture the essence of my university through song. If you’re looking for chill, lying in bed music, look no further than Jack Johnson.
“Banana Pancakes” even has rain falling in the background as Johnson tells us that “there ain’t no need to go outside,” and to “wake up slow.”
“Light a Roman Candle with Me” is straight up adorable in every way. Mostly, it’s just lead singer, Nate Ruess, stammering and rambling through reasons why a girl should go on a date with him. Somehow, he manages to piece together a song that is aggressive and excitable, but also polite and not too pushy. The result is a date proposal that I can’t imagine anyone turning down.
“Do you realize that everyone you know someday will die?
And instead of saying all of your goodbyes, let them know you realize that time goes fast. It’s hard to make the good things last. You realize the sun doesn’t go down. It’s just an illusion caused by the world spinning round.
“Do You Realize??” screams cuddles to me. My favorite realization in the song is that good things don’t last. The Flaming Lips aren’t trying to change that. They’re just acknowledging it. That acknowledgement allows me to feel more appreciation for the good things I have, including warm cuddles on cold, January nights.
Sometimes a song can be so beautiful that lyrics become secondary. While “Smile’s” lyrics are magnificent, they are not the type of “nuzzle up in bed with your love” lyrics this post is about. Contrarily, they’re about the singer being left for another woman. Still, the song is too beautiful to be left off this list.
Toothpaste is the reason night kisses are better than morning kisses. Post-brush kisses are more refreshing, more minty, and somehow softer than regular kisses. The Maccabees were clever enough to realize the appeal of toothpaste kisses, and put them in a song. They were also talented enough to make that song charming. Beginning with the line, “Cradle me. I’ll cradle you,” the song is clearly meant for cuddling, and it does a fantastic job of delivering.
“Sea of Love” is purely Cat Power’s (Chan Marshall’s) voice and a guitar. And that’s all it needs to be.
- I Will – The Beatles (YouTube is pretty sparse on The Beatles, but this is a fun, live version by an older Paul McCartney.)
Placed at the end of side 2 of the Beatles’ self-titled album, “I Will,” and the following song, “Julia,” work together sweetly. Though “Julia” is also a great song, “I Will” works better for this list – unless, of course, your partner’s name is Julia. Like “Sea of Love,” “I Will” is simple. It was recorded without John and George, and only includes vocals, acoustic guitar, and light percussion.
This song is literally about cuddling overcoming a nuclear winter. Two lovers have survived an explosion, but are now living in a vast expanse of gray. With no means of survival, Wallach turns to his partner, and says, “If you trust me, hold me close, and we’ll turn to sculptures made of sand. Once they find us, a thousand years from now, we’ll still be right here holding hands, still be glowing, smiling like we didn’t give a damn.” Maybe I’m too romantic, but those lines can provoke tears if you catch me on the right day.
“Glowing” may seem a bit over the top (along with this entire list), but Wallach’s idea isn’t imaginary. No one knows what the famous “last kiss” partners were thinking before they were killed by the Pompeii volcano, but it certainly does seem like they love each other.
We found them a thousand years later, and they’re still right there holding hands.
I hope you all have a good January! Sunday’s Best segments will begin again this Sunday.