Picking a solid playlist of metal love songs posted a difficult task. Metal excels at many things that most popular forms of music are not good at: darkness, intensity, drama. Love is not one of those things.
There is no shortage of metal songs about love. There are probably more songs about romantic relationships than any other single topic, and sex is probably a close second. The challenge came in finding good songs that suit Decibel. Extreme heavy metal ignores love almost entirely. Black, death, thrash, sludge, grind — they all pretty much boil down to one sentiment: “Aw, crap.”
The Christians rule Scandinavia. Aw, crap.
I have an uncontrollable desire to consume human flesh. Aw, crap.
Nuclear war seems inevitable. Aw, crap.
I’m hooked on smack. Aw, crap.
The ruling elites will never cede power to me nor accept my white boy dreadlocks. Aw, crap.
While “aw, crap” remains an appropriate reaction to many things in life, it is almost never the appropriate reaction to love. I can find one “aw, crap I’m in love” song trope: “I’m a total dog for promiscuous sex, but now I am emotionally attached to one person who would prefer if I changed my ways. Aw, crap.” Lemmy aside, I can’t find many instances of this trope in extreme metal, either.
As such, this playlist leans heavily on pre-extreme metal or bands that openly harken back to that style. Turning back the clock only makes finding metal love songs a tiny bit easier.
Many of these songs hail from the time period when heavy metal and hard rock were, if not overlapping genres, then at least Siamese twins. I did my best to ignore any bands which, in my subjective view, fall more into the hard rock category. That means no Foreigner, Journey, Van Halen, Whitesnake, KISS or the like.
Power ballads take up the lion’s share of metal love song territory. I also tried to ignore those. Power ballads are great, but today is a hallmark holiday—I can only take so much cheese.
To make matters worse, a whole lot of love songs are not really about love. In all rock music ‘love’ is mostly a euphemism for sex. The Scorpions and Judas Priest outperform in the love song department, but most of their material is really about making the beast with two backs (of these two, Priest makes far and away sexier songs on average – “Evil Fantasies” is especially raunchy). In fact, there are enough songs about sex that they might make their own playlist in the future. Some love songs are about motorcycles. Some love songs are about cracking open a cold one with the boys (the homoeroticism is strong in this subject). Some love songs are about, um, hate (Pantera’s “This Love” does not belong).
So strip all that away and what do you get?
Power metal, mostly. Which makes for a pretty boring playlist.
In other words: trying to find a pure, earnest metal song about love that isn’t a total cheeseball or just a double entendre about humping is pretty much impossible. But earnest love itself is cheesy and can lead to fucking often enough that we’ve built a functioning (well, some of the time) society around that concept, or at least the possibility of that concept. Aw, crap, a hint of optimism.
So in the spirit of the day, and that optimism, and not wanting to give you a playlist that’s just power metal, here is our Valentine’s Day playlist to you, full of sex, and beers with the boys, and motorcycles, and homoeroticism, and a lot of odd earnestness.
Decibel Magazine’s Valentine’s Day Metal Love Song Playlist
“Love You to Death” – Type O Negative
“N.I.B.” – Black Sabbath
“I Need Your Love” – High Spirits
“Please Don’t Touch” – Motorhead feat. Girlschool
“Benighted” – Opeth
“The End of Heartache” – Killswitch Engage
“Date with the Devil” – Mutoid Man
“Feeling Free Again” – Manilla Road
“Jet City Woman” – Queensryche
“A Gothic Romance” – Cradle of Filth
“Lady Death” – Tribulation
“Nothing Else Matters” – Metallica
“Turbo Lover” – Judas Priest
“Creature of Desire” – Visigoth
“Still Loving You” – Scorpions
“Love” – Strapping Young Lad
“Fata Morgana” – Fates Warning
“Mama I’m Coming Home” – Ozzy Osbourne
“Ghost Love Score” – Nightwish
“I Remember You” – Skid Row