13 Tracks Ziemba Considers Truly Romantic
Ahead of her True Romantic Clubhouse stream, René Kladzyk shares a playlist that speak her love language.
True Romantic has been out for nearly a week now, but René Kladzyk—a.k.a. Ziemba—is bringing the LP to the TV tonight with a newly revealed live stream event called True Romantic Clubhouse. The variety show will see the songwriter performing alongside labelmate Katie Alice Greer of Priests, Felicia Douglas of Dirty Projectors, and many more over the course of the night, as they promise “bombastic love songs, lurid sex tips, romantic surreality, pelvic thrusting dance moves, and cheeky dating advice.”
To get you in the mood for the event, Ziemba put together a handful of tracks she considers the most romantic singles ever set to tape. From Bollywood soundtracks, to oft-covered classics, to newly canonized songs by the likes of Perfume Genius and Mitski, to, of course, D’Angelo, you can steam the playlist in full below, and read on for Kladzyk’s commentary.
Tickets for the show are on sale now.
Lata Mangeshkar, “Lag Ja Gale Se Phir”
This song! Lata Mangeshkar is one of the greatest vocalists of all time, and the longing and desire in her vocal delivery is crystal clear—one does not need to speak Hindi to understand the emotional intensity here. “Lag Jaa Gale” was originally in the soundtrack of a 1964 Bollywood film, I recommend watching the song’s scene. It is beyond wonderful.
Sinead O’Connor, “Nothing Compares 2 U”
This one is an obvious choice, but of course it has to be on this list. A truly phenomenal song in every way, powerful and true.
Dillard & Clark, “So Sad”
The Everly Brothers wrote and originated this song, and in my opinion it is an example of a perfect song—but in this case it’s also that rare thing where the cover version is better than the original. Gene Clark adds so much melancholy to the arrangement and makes the lyrics cut right through to the core. His delivery is aching, you can feel the longing thick in every guitar strum and piano flourish.
Perfume Genius, “Slip Away”
Absolutely exhilarating, this song carries the excitement of new love. There’s a sort of breathless hope, and a sense of urgency and danger that accompanies the cascade of infatuated feelings—the fear of losing love, the certainty of change, and the impermanence of that one perfect moment.
Kevin Ayers, “May I?”
“May I sit and stare at you for awhile” is such a great lyric. This song is so tender—the sonic version of a soft, nervous, gentle first kiss.
Syreeta, “I Love Every Little Thing About You”
Ah Syreeta! This is the sweetest song, it’s like feathers floating through the air. Written and produced by Stevie Wonder, who was Syreeta’s husband at the time, I can only imagine how love-filled this recording session was.
D’Angelo, “Untitled (How Does It Feel)”
And here we have the most magnificently orgasmic song ever recorded. Has there ever been as incredible and thigh-tingling of a climax in a song as there is in this one? No.
Tomita, “Clair de Lune, No. 3”
Speaking of sexy songs, Debussy was the original thigh-tingling composer for the masses. I dare you to try to slow dance to Tomita’s “Clair de Lune” with a special someone and not end up in the tenderest embrace.
Samantha Sang, “Emotion”
I had a hard time deciding which Bee Gees song to put on here, because they have written a lot of really amazing romantic songs (“Islands in the Stream” was a close runner-up). But ultimately “Emotion” is just such an impossibly perfect vibe.
Dolly Parton, “I Will Always Love You”
This is another one that had to be on this list. And of course the Whitney version is phenomenal and iconic and exceptional, but I think Dolly’s original doesn’t get enough love.
Mitski, “Once More To See You”
Mitski is a queen of devastating lyrics, and here she delivers some whoppers. “I wouldn’t have to scream your name atop of every roof in the city of my heart if I could see you”—only someone fully inhabiting the throes of love could write that line.
Woo, “When You Find Your Love”
It was a little arbitrary picking which song from this album to include, because the entire album is 100 percent the feeling of being in love. Listen to the full album, it is a really really wonderful feeling.
The Go-Betweens, “Love Goes On!”
This whole album is fantastic too, and is chock full of über romantic songs (the album is appropriately named 16 Lovers Lane)—after you listen to Woo, listen to this record in full.