A playlist of anti-sappy love songs for Feb. 14
Ditch the usual cheesy love songs this Valentine's Day
Published: Thursday, February 12, 2009
Updated: Tuesday, January 18, 2011 15:01
The ideal partner is "eligible, not too stupid. Intelligible and cute as Cupid. Knowledgeable, but not always right. Salvageable, and free for the night," describes Stephin Merritt Magnetic Fields' extensive opus, "69 Love Songs."
The good news is, at least for the day, relationships are safe. Most breakups happen in the weeks before and after Feb. 14.
Nobody wants to break up on Valentine's Day. Even if you feel like it has to be done, it just comes off as tactless -- like telling a morbidly obese kid he shouldn't eat cake on his birthday.
Though you may not be struck by Cupid's arrow this Valentine's Day, hormonal activity still runs amuck and can even make its way into your own home, mocking you with every thrust.
But you don't need thicker walls to handle your horny housemates -- just a good pair of headphones. This Valentine's Day, go back to the lost art of the mix tape. Check out this playlist of different types of love songs to keep you company:
"Asleep and Dreaming," The Magnetic Fields: The song succeeds in its simplicity, which Merritt calls true love. "Well you may not be beautiful, but it's not for me to judge. I don't know if you're beautiful because I love you too much," he sings.
"Could We," Cat Power: Chan Marshall is sexy, emotionally honest and has a sweet side.
On "Could We," a bouncy bass line and a gleeful horn section accompany you and Ms. Power on your perfect date together. Nothing's better than waking up next to someone in the morning without regret. "Thank you, it was great. Let's make another date real soon, in the afternoon," Marshall sings. Oh, Cat, my thoughts exactly.
"Our Way To Fall," Yo La Tengo: Georgia Hubley and Ira Kaplan have been married for over 25 years. They may have fallen in love decades ago, but they still know what the feeling sounds like.
A tremolo organ, along with Hubley's beautiful voice, provide a stunning background for this slow-burning ode to new lovers. Thankfully, these two shy musicians stayed together and formed one of the greatest bands of all time.
"Northern Sky," Nick Drake: Vastly under-appreciated singer-songwriter Drake didn't receive the recognition he deserved until long after overdosing on anti-depressants at the age of 26.
This may be why "Northern Sky" is such a gem among his short catalogue of songs. Drake appears to shed his disposition of never finding love, singing, "Been a long time that I've wandered through the people I have known. Oh, if you would and you could, straighten my new mind's eye."
This section could have easily been filled with songs by Morrissey or Elliott Smith, the masters of mope. But when dealing with despair, it is more relatable if the musicians were actually happy at one point.
"Woke Up New," The Mountain Goats: Just when John Darnielle had come to terms with himself after the death of his abusive stepfather on "The Sunset Tree," he fell in love, she left him and he went back to the studio and made "Get Lonely."
"And the wind began to blow and the trees began to pant, and the world in its cold way started coming alive. And I stood there like a business man waiting for the train, and I got ready for the future to arrive," sings Darnielle, unprepared yet resilient, as if he's used to things like this by now.
"Your Ex-Lover Is Dead," Stars: A rich cello and kicking snare add to these biting lyrics. "All of that time you thought I was sad, I was trying to remember your name," the group cynically sings.
"Kathy's Song," Simon and Garfunkel: The worst breakups are due to forced separation, where distance or differing life paths are the only thing keeping people apart. Paul Simon wrote this song about a girl he met while touring Europe.
"As I watch the drops of rain weave their weary paths and die, I know that I am like the rain, there but for the grace of you go I," they croon. It's no surprise Simon was the one with the successful solo career.
Woody Allen once said, "Sex without love is an empty experience, but as empty experiences go, it's one of the best."
Here are some carnal love songs that are more than just good to bang to.
"Young Adult Friction," The Pains of Being Pure At Heart: Out of the tween pop scene, this song is about getting down in a library. "Between the stacks in the library, not like anyone stopped to see. We came, they went, our bodies spent among the dust and the microfiche."
If you know the back stacks in the library's basement, this should pique your imagination.
"Orgasm Addict," The Buzzcocks: This song transcends The Buzzcocks' shocking material with tight drumming and this catchy, chanted chorus: "Well you tried it just for once, found it all right for kicks, but now you found out that it's a habit that sticks." If that offends you, punk music has done its job.
"Lover's Spit (Redux)," Broken Social Scene: Leslie Feist sings this rendition on the B-side album, "Bee Hives." Feist's sensual and articulate voice is absolutely captivating in this song about meaningless sex. "All these people drinking lover's spit, they sit around and clean their face with it. And they listen to teeth to learn how to quit, tied to a night they never met," she sings.
When the song transitions it even seems to come to climax before the drums break in. If there ever was a song made to have sex to, this is it.
These songs may help make sense of why people keep attempting to have relationships at all, or simply add to the confusion.
Like the line from "High Fidelity," "Do I listen to pop music because I'm depressed, or am I depressed because I listen to pop music?"
"Imagination (Is A Powerful Deceiver)," Elvis Costello: This singer-songwriter has been bitter and broken-hearted on numerous occasions and has never taken it lightly. "You can follow your dreams, oh but please don't lead me on. If you wanna bleed in my face, you were here and now you're gone," he sings.