NPR

Valentines, Schmalentines: Songs Of Love And Other Ailments

This week on Alt.Latino, we start off with "Que Lío" — "What a Mess" — by legendary Puerto Rican salsa singer Hector Lavoe. It's not a rock or Latin Alternative song, but it's one of my favorite love songs of all time, and I couldn't imagine doing a Valentine's Day show without it.

I love "Que Lío" because it's simultaneously sensual, painful (feel those trombones stabbing you in the chest?), exuberant and desperate. And that's before he even starts telling you that he fell in love with his best friend's girl. The song is a perfect mood-setter for the type of Valentine's Day show we wanted to create — one in which we discuss the many facets of love. This week, we've got artists who are in love with the wrong person, the clumsy excitement of an office romance, the courage to leave an unhealthy kind of love, the anguish of knowing a love has come to its end and the joy of finding love long after you'd sworn it off.

Amidst the consumer madness that accompanies Valentine's Day — you can't walk into a convenience store without being assaulted by stuffed animals holding stuffed hearts — we wanted to showcase something real. Whether its Spanish singer Buika singing her heart out when describing a breakup ("You may not love me, but life loves me") or Argentine songwriter Gaby Kerpel's childlike amazement at finding love again, this is what love really sounds like.

As usual, we want to hear from you. What are your favorite love songs? On Valentine's Day, we'll assemble some of the listener picks on our blog.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

More Photos

Qué Lío

Sounds like: The funkiest, grooviest song ever written about falling in love with your best friend's girl

Coming at you from: Puerto Rico

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Romance En La Oficina

Sounds like: The Cure

Coming at you from: Spain

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Yo No

Sounds like: A luxurious night with a poisonous love

Coming at you from: Mexico

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La Gran Broma Final

Sounds like: Nick Cave breaking up with Leonard Cohen

Coming at you from: Spain

Me Gustaría

Sounds like: Los Amigos Invisibles mixed with Orishas

Coming at you from: Spain

Tattered Heart

Sounds like: Early U2 or David Bowie

Coming at you from: Cuba and New York City

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Jodida Pero Contenta

Sounds like: Flamenco's Jill Scott

Coming at you from: Spain

Carnabailito

Sounds like: The euphoria and goofiness of falling in love again

Coming at you from: Argentina

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