Lots of songs are slow, but to recall the awkward, needlessly dramatic tradition of the junior or senior high school “slow dance,” tunes need to have several additional qualities for me:
- They must speak of a love most intense and cinematic.
- They must have a late-'90s sensibility, regardless of when they were actually recorded.
- They must sound just… so pretty, despite my initial desire to dislike them out of cynicism.
Enjoy, and share your favorite slow jams (even if you have different criteria) below!
1. “Three Little Words” by Nu Flavor
The ultimate cheesy slow song. It's almost a parody of itself.
2. “You Look So Fine” by Garbage
Shirley Manson could read Goodnight Moon and her voice would still make me Feel Things.
3. “Under You” by Better than Ezra
I considered BTE's “Live Again,” but “I love it when we fight/It makes me think at least you still care” is way too effing sad. I prefer “Under You”'s imagery of eating Ramen with a loved one in the middle of the night.
4. “Every Time” by Janet Jackson
The words' simplicity makes them seem all the more vulnerable, somehow.
5. “Somewhere Out There” by Our Lady Peace
“I miss your purple hair!”
6. “My First Night with You” [Ric Wake Version] by Mya
What would this list be if I didn't include my own favorite jam at age thirteen?
7. “How Low?” by Sacha Sacket
From a musical snobbery standpoint, I suspect this number might be “better” than the rest; Sacha's musicianship and lyrics are pretty much tops. Fortunately, I'm not much of an elitist, so I can also enjoy:
8. “17” by Mandy Moore
Aren't teenagers so reckless and hormone-driven? Eh, no, not always, but this is a lovely song, if you ask me.
9. “My Immortal” by Evanescence
Bonus points for inspiring the title of the most infamous fanfiction ever written.
10. “2 Become 1” by Spice Girls
What can I say? Garland's “t.A.T.u. and Synthetic Queerness” post started my umpteenth Spice kick (or that's my excuse). This version, off the Greatest Hits, changes “Boys and girls feel good together” to “Love will bring us back together.” Aww!
11. “Insatiable” by Darren Hayes
Would my schools have played a suggestive song by an openly gay man? Maybe not, but that's part of why my music is better than theirs. (Just kidding.) (No, I'm not.)
12. “Red Light Special” by TLC