Friday, February 12, 2010

Songs for VD (Valentine's, That Is)

I know that, as you're reading this, you're scrambling for a last-minute Valentine's date. You're literally tackling strangers on the street and throwing cardboard chocolate boxes at the moderately attractive heads of passersby. You're listening to music--and turning it up--to overwhelm the pounding in your chest, the thud-thud-thud of a heart that's giving up on you and the why-why-why of a brain out of answers.

THIS is Love.


Kidding. Valentine's Day, like most of my favorite holidays, is secular, arbitrary, ridiculous, and destined for anticlimax. In other words, it is what you make it; that's why I love it. Every year, no matter how I feel on February 14, that's what I choose to celebrate. I can't lose.

So, here are eight songs to meet you halfway, wherever you're coming from, and wherever you're going. Even if your night ends elbow-deep in a quart of Ben AND Jerry (that sounded dirty), I've got you covered.

In the immortal words of Michael Stipe, "you're not alone."

The I-Just-Met-Someone-And-Am-Unspeakably-Euphoric Pick: Oasis, "Lyla"
This song has lyrics (good ones, too--promise!), but they're incidental. The joy here is wordless, and visceral, and...wait for it...unbridled.

The I've-Settled-Into-It-Like-an-Old-Smelly-House-Slipper Pick: Bob Dylan, "Buckets of Rain"
Not fully happy, not exactly sad. He's not always with her, and he's never without her. A nice, pretty, satisfying, wistful middle-ground.

The I'm-a-Hopeless-Romantic-and-Incidentally-Alone Pick: Josh Ritter, "Wait for Love"
Because idealism and patience are often mutually exclusive. Here's to the optimists everywhere.

The One-Of-Us-Is-Over-It Pick: The Beatles, "You Like Me Too Much"
You still like George best, Fan of the Month??? (Teaser for Monday's FOM!)

The I've-Made-a-Terrible-Mistake-For-Fear-Of-Being-Alone Pick: Counting Crows, "Goodnight, Elizabeth"
I'll also accept "Walkaways," "Sullivan Street," or "pretty much every other Counting Crows song during the Courteney Cox Era."

The I've-Been-Waiting-For-An-Excuse-To-Have-a-Pity-Party Pick: Bonnie Tyler, "Total Eclipse of the Heart"
What's amazing to me about this song--well, what's most amazing to me about this song--is that it's a ridiculous, gut-busting, heart-wrenching, awesomely maudlin monster TWICE. It runs its own insane emotional gauntlet, reaches the finish line, and goes back for seconds. Bonnie Tyler effectively says, "I'm the biggest masochist in history, let's rinse and repeat" and the song repeats itself like a hymn in church. It is a back-to-back tour de force of ridiculosity.

Go on, draw the bath. Pour the wine. Watch Meg Ryan. Revel in the misery--you know you've been waiting for this.

The I've-Got-a-Gameplan-That-Doesn't-Involve-Love Pick: Justin Timberlake, "Sexyback"
Get down.

The My-Heart-Just-Got-Obliterated-And-Nobody-Knows-How-I-Feel Pick: R.E.M. "Everybody Hurts"
Cause Michael Stipe does. He always does.

Outkast, "Happy Valentine's Day" (The On-the-Nose Pick...puns!) and
Emmylou Harris "Boulder to Birmingham" (The There's-Only-One-For-Me-And-They're-Long-Gone Pick)

So, what's your pick for Valentine's Day? And what categories am I missing? Hit up the comments and let me know!

With "a lot of like,"

P.S. If you want to read past Valentine's Day posts, head here!

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