Love is in the air this month and the Coal Creative office is no exception. We love our team, we love our collaborators, we love our community — we even love YOU, dear reader.

This month, we asked the Coal Crew for their favorite love songs. Curl up with your sweetheart or stuff your mouth with some chocolate as you jam out to The Coalest Valentine’s Day Playlist of All Time! 

If you’re thinking that this playlist will be full of sad ballads, Social Media Specialist Jesse Macko has some words for you.

“Alright, it took me some time, but I decided to go with ‘(You Drive Me) Crazy’ (specifically the STOP! Remix) by Britney Spears because who says all love songs need to be slow, sad ballads? A TRUE love song will have you dancing and singing with your partner on the dance floor!”

Video Specialist Jay Nguyen agrees. She submitted “Sunkissed” by khai dreams. 

“I recommend listening to this song when you need a boost of serotonin! It’s impossible not to dance or sing to!”

Now that you’re up and dancing, we dare you not to belt out the chorus to Project Manager Jeremy Brown’s pick: “Livin’ on a Prayer” by Bon Jovi.

“I’m a sucker for over-the-top vocals coupled with guitar riffs,” he says. 

Aren’t we all! For all you 90s kids out there, Chief Creative Officer Sam O’Connell’s suggestion will have you reaching for your VHS tapes next. 

“My favorite love song is undoubtedly ‘Love’ by Nancy Adams from the 1973 Disney Animated Classic ‘Robin Hood.’ This was one of the few VHS tapes we had as kids and when those warm strings and that picking guitar would warble over the tube TV speakers, my heart would flutter. Fast forward 15 years and in a secret coordinated effort with my sister-in-law, my brother and I surprised them on a hike and sang it as she got down on one knee.”

Content Director Samantha Bucher (whose TV still has a built-in VHS player) looked to the Disney songs she grew up with, too. 

“My favorite love song is ‘You’ll Be in My Heart’ by Phil Collins from the ‘Tarzan’ soundtrack. As a kid, this song made me feel so safe. It makes me think of the love I have for my family. One day, I hope to sing this to my future kids.”

Operations & Business Development Manager Camaryn Lokuta was also inspired by the silver screen for her contributions to our playlist.  

“I would say it is a toss up between ‘This Will Be (An Everlasting Love)’ by Natalie Cole and ‘The Way You Look Tonight’ by Frank Sinatra. Whenever I hear these songs I can’t help but think of those nostalgic ‘90s-early 2000s romantic comedies (specifically ‘The Parent Trap’ and ‘Father of the Bride!’)”

Web Developer Travis Antoniello pulled his love song of choice, Mree’s cover of “Simple and Clean,” from a beloved video game soundtrack. 

“Anybody who has played ‘Kingdom Hearts’ might be familiar with this song. I love Mree’s voice, and her cover of this song is hauntingly beautiful and atmospheric. It actually gives me the chills listening to it.”

Love songs can transport us. For Director of Strategic Communications Jon O’Connell, his selection “CVS” by Winnetka Bowling League brings him back to his teenage years. 

“It’s got bubblegum gooey words, catchy rhythms and it teleports you somewhere you can be a corny teenager falling in love in equally corny ways.”

Some of the Coal team members were inspired not by soundtracks or memories, but by the songwriters themselves. Production Manager Alex Manganella chose “I Wish I Was” by The Avett Brothers for this reason. 

“It’s such a beautiful, simple song in the form of a letter exploring the risk of love and how to preserve it without suffocating it. I think they’re some of the best songwriters around.”

Hold that thought, Alex! A greatest songwriter challenger approaches!  Post-Production Manager Will McHale presents — apparently the best selection of all time. 

“‘Something’ by The Beatles is the best love song of all time! Do I really need to make a case for it?” 

Sometimes in love you need to face challenges head on, but to avoid conflict within our video team, we will let you decide, reader.  

Lead Web Developer & Lead Designer Matt Simoncavage’s choice was also inspired by the mind behind it with his choice of “Your Song” by Elton John. 

“Over the years, Elton John’s early ’70s material has become some of my favorite music of all time. This is the song that pretty much started his career. It’s just a beautiful little love song. Fun fact: it’s also one of the most recent additions to my band’s arsenal of covers.”

CEO Holly K. Pilcavage also submitted “Your Song,” specifically the version from one of her favorite films, Moulin Rouge. But when I informed her that Matt had already selected it, she groaned and went back to the drawing board. 

“Since my first song choice was already submitted by Matt, I’m going to go with ‘More Than Words’ by Extreme. My mom would share that it was the first song I ever sang. In the early spring of 1991, she was pushing me on the swing and it was playing. She was singing along and the verse came up and I sang, ‘What would you do’ (in baby language, of course). She says that’s the moment she knew I was special. I don’t remember that moment at all, but it feels like it was full of a lot of love.”

Last, but certainly not least — Marleny Encarnacion, recently joined the Coal Crew as our Office Specialist (Stay tuned for her “official” announcement btw!) and as the newest member of the Coal Crew, we told her there is no pressure in her participation in this monthly series — truth be told it was quite the opposite and our entire team of music lovers were waiting with bated breath to see what song she would choose.

At ease, team. She knocked it out of the park. 

”Te Amaré” by Miguel Bosé talks about loving someone as imperfectly as they are.”

Such a sweet suggestion for her first-ever Keeping Up with the Coal Crew submission!

And there you have it:  the absolute best and certainly most eclectic playlist to jam out to this Valentine’s Day. We hope you enjoy it!

The Coal Crew

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