Music magazine Billboard released a list of song titles most likely to appear on its famous Hot 100 chart last July, which claims to measure the most popular songs in the United States on a weekly basis.
To my dismay, none of the common titles contained the word “heart”, despite the fact that I seem to hear it in all the other songs, due to its incomparable symbolic and physiological importance. (The rest of this magazine will surely convince you of the latter.) Most upsetting to me was seeing the extremely generic “Hold On”, “Stay”, and “You” at the top of the list. Closest to “heart” was the perfectly complementary duet of “I Love You,” with 11 songs in the chart’s 66-year history, and “Love Me,” with 10. love, I ask, without a heart?
Here are some songs with “heart” in the title that really deserve to be on the Hot 100, so why not wait and stay awhile?
You might especially enjoy this one if you’re still in the Olympic spirit, because it was famously – by the standards of some of the music I listen to, at least – played to a montage of Canadian Olympic highlights on CTV after the 2010 Games. What I love about the edit is that presenter Stephen Brunt knew exactly what’s great about the song. He starts playing in the middle of the breakdown so that 21 seconds later, in the video’s emotional climax, we get an absolutely insane filler from drummer Phil Maloney. (As always, bonus points for the album of this song also containing “Black Heart.”)
I probably could have created an entire playlist out of songs called “Heartbeat”. Honorable mentions to Kopecky and The New Electric Sound, who just missed inclusion here. I had to pick this one from 2018 because it’s the best expression of Ben Drew’s return to the neo-soul sound he explored on 2010’s ‘The Defamation of Strickland Banks’, one of my favorite albums.
“O my heart”
Before these indie rock eccentrics were the latest TikTok sensation, they were just a humble band from Quadra Island, British Columbia who had no qualms about tautology or rhyming. a word with itself (“And I throw my heart into the fire / ‘Cause I wanna set my heart on fire”). Somehow this song manages to be good despite that.
Said the whale
Continuing the oddly Canadian theme, this one comes from Vancouver-based Said the Whale’s most recent album, “Dandelion.” A rhythmically hugely creative song that features a dramatic time signature change mid-stage, then morphs into a vaguely psychedelic outing, “Sweetheart” deserves recognition on par with the band’s 2013 single “I Love You.” which – surprise, surprise – reached number 1. 1 on the Canadian alternative rock charts.
‘Stone in my heart’
Producer Tommy D deserves some kind of award for this song. The bouncy piano, the drums super high in the mix, the reverberating offbeat guitar lines, deployed sparingly, that cut through the most energetic moments of the song. That’s great.
The “loud-quiet-loud” formula in rock music is perhaps most closely associated with the Pixies, but this song gives them a hard time, if only in the sense that I often have to adjust my volume while playing it because the choir is so relatively loud. Besides, no one ever believes me that the galloping harpsichord triplets in the outro are an allusion to the Partridge Family. Listen for yourself.
“Write it on your heart”
bad bad hats
This isn’t the first time I’ve written about this band for Bakersfield Life, and I remain completely baffled that they aren’t more popular. I guess if that were the case, there might be more “heart” songs on the Billboard Hot 100.
Journalist Henry Greenstein can be reached at 661-395-7374. Follow him on Twitter: @HenryGreenstein.