This one’s for all you lovers out there.
Since Valentine’s Day is a tragic oversimplification of love and relationships and lust and pretty much everything else that it interrupts with its allotted day, here are some of our favourite songs that address the nuances of it all far better than a giant teddy holding a bunch of roses.
Let’s start with some classics…
Smashing Pumpkins – Luna
Corgan’s bitterly yearning voice is what really makes this a fantastic love song.
I go along
Just because I’m lazy.
I go along to be with you.
Nirvana – Heart Shaped Box
Admittedly there is some controversy about whether this is a ‘love song’ in the strictest sense – Cobain originally said it was inspired by documentaries about children with cancer; Courtney Love said it was about her vagina. Whether or not those are true, that’s two nice things to think about on Valentine’s Day.
I’ve been locked inside your Heart Shaped box for weeks.
I’ve been drawn into your magnet tar pit trap.
I wish I could eat your cancer when you turn black.
Magnetic Fields – Yeah! Oh Yeah!
Concerning a wife who acknowledges the extent of irritation and misery that she and her husband inflict upon each other…
How I loved to catch your gold
and silver tears, but now my dear
What a dark and dreary life
Are you reaching for a knife?
Could you really kill your wife?
Yeah! Oh, yeah!
PJ Harvey – Legs
In which PJ Harvey posits that the best way to sustain an unsuccessful relationship is to cut off your partner’s legs so they can’t leave.
Oh lover boy, oh fever head..
No you must, no you must not go away –
How will you ever walk again?
…And some recent releases too…
Jessie Ware & Sampha – Valentine
Not that recent, but when former cover star Jessie Ware teamed up with Sampha, it created a delicate track that’s been a Valentine’s staple for the last few years.
So you will never be my lover or my Valentine,
Never be a friend of mine,
Never see my better side.
Maybe you’d be terrified.
St Vincent – Birth in Reverse
The lead single from St Vincent’s 2014 solo album (to be released in just a few days) succicntly describes Valentine’s Day for most of us:
Oh what an ordinary day,
Take out the garbage, masturbate.
Phoenix – Chloroform
Having caused quite a stir with their recent UK shows, the inimitably cool Phoenix add further questions and confusion and poetry and synth to our understanding of love, and then get frontman Thomas Mars’ wife – Sophia Coppola – to direct the video…
I don’t only think of you
As untitled, insecure; chloroform.
Findlay – Your Sister
Findlay tells the story of a husband engaging in an extra-marital affair, from the perspective of the wife, who’s been told the relationship is of siblings, not lovers.
Your sister is not your sister,
I’ve seen the way you kiss her.
White Lies – There Goes Our Love Again
White Lies’ soaring, epic choruses enunciate the tragedy of a relationship whose love is elusive and periodically absconds, leaving one half merely holding up the jar of desire.
Cocoon my heart, cocoon my heart,
And carry me to love again.
Kwes – Rollerblades
Sounds like a whimsy, sentimental song about a childhood sweet heart, reeking of saccharine when we’re told that the pair stopped rollerblading because he had to go in for dinner. Then the last line hits:
The only thing I can do right now is rollerblade for calamity.
…Then a few weeks ago, we got a video. All previous statements retracted.
John Grant – GMF
John Grant croons the lines that should be on Valentine’s Day cards nationwide. Full lyrics here.
I am the greatest motherfucker
That you’re ever gonna meet
From the top of my head
Down to the tips of the toes on my feet.
So go ahead and love me while it’s still a crime
And don’t forget you could be laughing
65 percent more of the time.
Warpaint – Love is to Die
Warpaint have already probably released one of the best albums of the year and it’s only February. I’ll happily love and die with this song as the soundtrack.
Love is to die. Love is to not die, love is to dance.
Why don’t you dance?