Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Valentines, Schmalentines: Songs Of Love And Other Ailments

This week on Alt.Latino, we start off with "Que Lío" — "What a Mess" — by legendary Puerto Rican salsa singer Hector Lavoe. It's not a rock or Latin Alternative song, but it's one of my favorite love songs of all time, and I couldn't imagine doing a Valentine's Day show without it.

I love "Que Lío" because it's simultaneously sensual, painful (feel those trombones stabbing you in the chest?), exuberant and desperate. And that's before he even starts telling you that he fell in love with his best friend's girl. The song is a perfect mood-setter for the type of Valentine's Day show we wanted to create — one in which we discuss the many facets of love. This week, we've got artists who are in love with the wrong person, the clumsy excitement of an office romance, the courage to leave an unhealthy kind of love, the anguish of knowing a love has come to its end and the joy of finding love long after you'd sworn it off.

Amidst the consumer madness that accompanies Valentine's Day — you can't walk into a convenience store without being assaulted by stuffed animals holding stuffed hearts — we wanted to showcase something real. Whether its Spanish singer Buika singing her heart out when describing a breakup ("You may not love me, but life loves me") or Argentine songwriter Gaby Kerpel's childlike amazement at finding love again, this is what love really sounds like.

As usual, we want to hear from you. What are your favorite love songs? On Valentine's Day, we'll assemble some of the listener picks on our blog.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit

Jasmine Garsd is an Argentine-American journalist living in New York. She is currently NPR's Criminal Justice correspondent and the host of The Last Cup. She started her career as the co-host of Alt.Latino, an NPR show about Latin music. Throughout her reporting career she's focused extensively on women's issues and immigrant communities in America. She's currently writing a book of stories about women she's met throughout her travels.