I’ll do such things to ease your pain: The best songs about crushes

“You feel a little sick,” noted semiologist Neil Tennant observed abut crushes. Before the kiss — should the kiss happen — the rush. Pop songs put flesh on our feelings; they make sense of surges and anxieties. I can think of few lines more beautiful in their simple truth than Debbie Harry’s “Your hair is beautiful” in Blondie’s “Atomic,” a four-word verbal distillation of what almost five minutes of four-note riffing and sequencer beeping accomplished. One of the 1990s best pure pop songs, “Crush” has Jennifer Paige fluttering her Mariah Carey-indebted pipes over a synthed-up confection. Ella Fitzgerald brought adult emotion to “I’ve Got a Crush on You,” and why not? We adults get crushes all the time.

A story. About nine years ago, working at a coffee shop, a beautiful young man dressed for the beach stood in line oblivious to my ogling. His girlfriend caught me. Before my blushes made me blind, she mouths and smiles, “I know.”

1. Sam Cooke – You Send Me
2. Ella Fitzgerald – I’ve Got a Crush on You
3. The Beatles – I’ve Just Seen a Face
4. Blondie – Atomic
5. Jennifer Paige – Crush
6. Lil’ Kim – Crush On You
7. Kylie Minogue – Love at First Sight
8. Pet Shop Boys – I Want a Lover
9. Sophie B. Hawkins – Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover
10. The Ramones – I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend
11. The Clash – 1-2 I’ve Crush On You
12. Jonathan Richman – The New Teller
13. Carly Rae Jepson – Call Me Maybe
14. Beyoncé – XO
15. Taylor Swift – You Belong With Me
16. Robyn – Call Your Girlfriend
17. George Strait – Check Yes or No
18. Smokey Robinson – I Second That Emotion
19. Tegan and Sara – Closer
20. Donna Summer – This Time I Know It’s for Real
21. Bruce Springsteen – Crush On You
22. Luther Vandross – The Rush
23. Elvis Presley – Can’t Help Falling in Love
24. Prince – I Wanna Be Your Lover
25. Kendrick Lamar – L.O.V.E.

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