You might recognize Jessie Ware and Sampha’s “Valentine” from the Valentine’s Day episode of Orange Is The New Black , “You Also Have Pizza”. After an episode that showcases the emotional strains that Litchfield Correctional Facility is systematically imposing on relationships within and outside the prison, the credits begin and the below track begins to play, at once disheartening, and startlingly pretty.
“Valentine” is a standalone single by Ware and Sampha from 2011 that overtly foreshadowed the great impact either artist would surely have on pop music in the years to come (Sampha has worked with everyone from SBTRKT to Drake and Jessie Ware is one of the preeminent vocal talents in the UK and America if you’re paying attention). The ethereal production and singing (their voices float around each other like two butterflies flitting in close proximity to one another; the keyboard, as it jumps octaves, sounds like iridescent bubbles popping) belie lyrics that are decidedly forlorn: “So will you never be my lover or my valentine /
Never be a friend of mine, never see my better side…”
However, it would be unnecessarily pessimistic to think this is can only be a sad song–note that the above lyrics are framed as a question and not necessarily a rhetorical one. It still allows for the other participant in the conversation to offer welcome, if surprising, affection.
Check out the song below and let us know if you are digging! <3 you, dudes!