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Our picks: Romantic music for a special Valentine's Day

A couple of years ago, the Daily Press' own music buffs Sam McDonald and Mike Holtzclaw shared some favorite tunes for setting that very romantic mood on Valentine's Day. Here are the songs they chose - as well as a few clunkers to avoid:

Great songs, according to Sam:

"Fell in Love with a Girl," The White Stripes. Jack White's lyrics lay out a classic case of romantic confusion. Also, it rocks.

"Let My Love Open The Door," Pete Townshend. When I started this list, my mind immediately raced back to high school -- when I had absolutely no idea what love was all about. This is one that filled my young heart with joy.

"I Second That Emotion," Smokey Robinson and The Miracles. I couldn't make this list without Smokey, who could cause a swoon by singing his tax return.

"Talk of the Town," Pretenders. On this album track from the band's second album, Chrissie Hynde describes a crush in beautiful, aching detail.

"Nothing Compares 2 U,"Sinead O'Connor. The Irish singer takes an already lovely Princesong and fills it with fearless soul.

"You're The First, The Last, My Everything," Barry White. Sonic ecstasy wrapped up in White's deep, velvet voice.

"Special Lady," Ray, Goodman and Brown. Yes, it's a bit cheesy. It's also very, very sweet.

"Before I met you my sun didn't want to shine, then all of a sudden you crept up from behind."

"To Make You Feel My Love," Bob Dylan. I could have done a list of 10 great Dylan love songs. Another favorite is "Girl From the North Country." But "To Make You Feel My Love" ranks among his most direct expressions of affection.

"This Must Be the Place (Naïve Melody)," Talking Heads. From the band's 1983 album

"Speaking in Tongues," this song is deeply romantic and virtually cliché-free.

"Just a Friend," Biz Markie. The Biz tells a super-silly story of unrequited love. Why does love have to be so serious?

P.S. from Sam: I couldn't make this list without mentioning what I consider the most romantic album of all time, " John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman." When it comes to creating a romantic mood, it's the nuclear option.

Mike's Ten Great Ones (in no particular order):

"The Arms of Mine" by Otis Redding is a great song for a slow dance, and if you don't know how to slow dance, then it's a great song to just hug and sway to.

"The Way You Do the Things You Do" by the Temptations. On paper, these lyrics are a bunch of silly, if occasionally fun, pickup lines. In Eddie Kendricks' falsetto, they're transcendent.

"Feels Like Home" by Randy Newman. It's been covered by people with prettier voices (which is to say, just about anyone), but no one has captured the tenderness of the song better than the guy who wrote it.

"Let's Stay in and Make Love" by Nick Lowe. The dashing young pub rock guru of the 1970s is still making music. Here's a song about an old married couple that even young lovebirds can enjoy.

"Walk Through This World With Me" by Emmylou Harris and Carl Jackson. Even better than George Jones' classic version.

"Let's Get it On" by Marvin Gaye. Needs no explanation, really.

"The Power of Two" by Indigo Girls. Amid turmoil and uncertainty, love finds a comfort zone. We all need someone to say these words to us sometimes.

"Kind of Perfect" by Kacy Crowley. She's a great singer-songwriter in Austin, Texas. Track down a copy of the song and find out for yourself just how (kind of) perfect it is.

"I Envy the Wind" by Lucinda Williams. Who is she singing this to? An ex who she wants back? A secret crush to whom she hasn't confessed her feelings? An actual lover who enthralls her this much? An incredibly sexy, smoldering song.

"Harvest Moon" by Neil Young – "Because I'm still in love with you … " A lovely vehicle for his time-worn voice.

Stinkers according to Sam:

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