I had planned to say something obvious like, he gets under my skin like blood. Mix a cocktail of saline and ash and whisky and call it The Cigarette Burn.
I saved up provocations, I remember the way his chin shone smeared with my blood. I tasted myself on him and I was the sweeter one.
I made up a romantic, tragic story about the love of my life dying, leaving me a young widow. New friends wouldn’t have known I’ve always been alone.
Spit. Spit it out. Miss me, regret me.
I could have given you everything. I want you to miss it.
Conversation stoppers. No one wants my heart, not even as a consolation prize.
Seems we’re approaching that time of year again. Valentines Day. The day where young teenaged couples pledge their undying love for one another only three weeks before breaking up and never speaking again. The day where florists and Hallmark card writers can finally take their families out for a night of expensive Chinese food. The day where professional misanthropes clog up social media sites with how much they hate everyone. A day where hundreds of horny loners descend on “Singles Parties” for a night that will live on in drunken, veneral disease ridden-infamy. A day where the vast majority of normal people carry on their lives with little notice nor care for the melodrama going on around them.
But more than any of this, Valentines Day is another pointless holiday that allows bored bloggers to make even more pointless lists. And what’s more pointless than a list of bad love songs posted a week before Valentines Day? Nothing I tells. NOTHING!
After all, most love songs are pretty disturbing. People still romanticise The Police’s ‘Every Breath You Take’ despite the fact it is clearly about a stalker. ‘Summer Nights’ seems to have some rape allusions. Not to mention ‘I Saw Her Standing There’, a rare insight into Paul McCartney’s debaucherous ephebophilic mind.
Surely none of these songs should be played on Valentines Day, and if you did play these songs, why not go all out? Why not celebrate those songs that are deliberately disturbing? And so here you are, my 15 picks for love songs that probably should not be played on Valentines Day.
BEWARE: SPOILERS AHOY!
15. Poison The Well - ‘Nerdy’
I was told at a party several years ago that bands like Poison The Well made my taste in music “pussy repellent”. Shame, because corny lyrics like “Why do you’re eyes paralyse me? What makes me feel this way?” and “Don’t dull away, hold my hand”, means Poison The Well could easily make a decent bubblegum pop band if it weren’t for all the palm muted bar chords and double kicks.
14. Public Enemy - ‘Pollywanacraka’
A love song by Public Enemy? What is this? Look, it’s ok, because ‘Pollywanacraka’ is a 4 minute spoken word jam from a baritone Chuck D that deconstructs interracial relationships, examining insecurity, communal prejudice, class hatred and racial identity. Probably not the best mood music, but a good song nonetheless.
13. Black Flag - ‘I Love You’
Here’s another group with an unexpected love song. Though it’s pretty clear from the opening lyrics that this isn’t a typical love song: “I put my fist through the door, I hate myself for you”. Pretty dedicated right? Indeed, the guy is so dedicated to his partner that he stabs her to death so she can never leave. Probably explains why Rollins never got married after all these years.
12. Elvis Presley - ‘Kissin’ Cousins’
Elvis’ endearing ode to familial relations. The song is actually pretty fun when you look past the whole, you know, incest part. Though as someone who passed a third year Evolutionary Genetics course I can say that his excuse that “We’re all cousins….because we’re children of Adam and Eve” does not make macking on with your relatives “all right”.
11. The Velvet Underground - ‘The Gift’
Written by Lou Reed for a University assignment, ‘The Gift’ tells the story of Waldo Jeffers, who is trying to keep his long distance relationship with Marsha Bronson alive. Walter, broke and lovesick, decides to mail himself to Marsha. All very romantic until Marsha stabs the packaged with box cutter, going straight into Waldo’s head, killing him immediately. Oh yeah, and she was cheating on him the whole time. All in all somewhat less sweet than ‘Pale Blue Eyes’.
10. Dizzee Rascal - ‘I Luv U’
Another ironically titled song, because ‘I Luv U’ is a tale of a young relationship kept together by nothing more than material circumstances, jealousy, suspicion, competition and sexual exploitation. Combine this with a young Dizzee’s visceral flow and a classic grime beat and it’s unlikely you’ll get a dancing partner for the Singles Ball.
9. Broken Social Scene - ‘Anthem For A Seventeen Year Old Girl’
Ok this is just a sad song. It opens with “You used to be one of the rotten ones and I liked you for that. No you’re all gone, got your makeup and you’re not coming back. Can’t you come back?”, but closes with “Park that car, drop that phone, sleep on the floor, dream about me”. Don’t you see! He doesn’t love, he never will. HE’LL NEVER TREAT YOU RIGHT. I’D TREAT YOU RIGHT THOUGH. OH GOD, NOW I’M CRYING AGAIN. HAPPENS EVERY TIME. GET IT TOGETHER, MAN. GET IT TOGETHER!
8. Gang Of Four - ‘Anthrax’
If you manage to navigate your way through the opening minute-and-a-half of guitar feedback and drone you’ll discover ‘Anthrax’ is a crowning achievement of the English post-punk scene. Half song, half spoken word piece, it is a rational deconstruction of the love song with Andy Gill concluding “don’t think we’re saying there’s anything wrong with love, we just don’t think what goes on between two people should be shrouded in mystery”. And let’s not forget the “Love will get you like a case of Anthrax, and that’s something I don’t want to catch” hook. Ok, so no one would ever actually play this song on Valentines Day. Fuck you, it’s a good song.
7. Bruce Springsteen - ‘Atlantic City’
In someways this is typical Springsteen; boy meets girl, boy and girl live in terrible environment, boy promises girl to get her a better life. The main difference is that in this case, the boy is forced to work for the mob to do so, pushing him into an existential wasteland where death is around every corner. Well, at least her hair is up pretty.
6. Jesus And The Mary Chain - ‘Just Like Honey’
Y’all know that final scene in ‘Lost In Translation’? Where Bill Murray runs through a crowded Tokyo to get to Scarlett Johansson and says something that everyone pretends is a mystery even though it’s clear as fucking day that he tells her he loves her? Yeah well this is the song that starts playing at the end of the scene. Pretty sweet right? That’s until you discover that Jim Reid is actually graphically detailing sex with an ex-girlfriend, with a particular focus on his reluctance to go down on her. So yeah, there you go.
5. Woody Guthrie - ‘Hard, Ain’t It Hard’
There’s a few different versions of this song but they all tell the same tale. The relatively generic hook of “Ain’t it hard to love one that never did love you” covers up a story of a man who has fallen in love with another man who happens to sleep with all the women in town, before murdering him out of jealousy. That’s pretty radical by today’s standard, let alone when Guthrie played it in 1941.
4. The Smiths - ‘There Is A Light That Never Goes Out’
Fairly standard addition to the list, I would’ve thought. Only Morrissey would complicate a lovely late night drive with thoughts of getting running over by a double decker bus or a ten ton truck. Some trivia, the title lyric was originally “there is a light in your eyes that never goes out”. Pretty cheesy. Luckily, they decided to stick with the abstract one-liners and the death fantasies.
3. Atlas Sound - ‘Shelia’
Fans of either/both Atlas Sound and/or Deerhunter would know that singer-songwriter Bradford Cox’s music is pretty much always depressing. So ‘Shelia’, with its sunny instrumentation and tale of aging love seems like a nice reprieve. That’s until you learn that the couple fear dying alone and that there fear is the only thing keeping together. Good going there, Bradford, you had us there for a second. I’m sure that the songs final lyric “we’ll die alone together” will be belted out at dates across the nation.
2. Iggy Pop - ‘Tonight’
Ironically placed on Pop’s breakthrough solo record Lust For Life, ‘Tonight’ follows Pop as he convinces his partner, dying from a heroin overdose, that “everything will be alright tonight”. On a brighter note, the song was covered by David Bowie and Tina Turner in 1984, where the drug references were removed and the song put to a reggae beat. That cover did not make the list, because it is shit.
1. the Mountain Goats - ‘Going To Georgia’
“The most remarkable thing about coming home to you is the feeling of being in motion again. It’s the most wonderful feeling in the world”. Fairly innocuous beginning. That is until you realise the protagonist has got a gun and only moments away from shooting himself. That is until his love walks in: “The most remarkable thing about you standing in the doorway is that it’s you, and that you’re standing in the doorway”. She takes away the gun and he no longer feels like dying. I don’t know about y’all, but I like that. ‘Going To Georgia’ is completely fucked up, but in typical Mountain Goats fashion it is lovable and listenable, and in no way playable on Valentines Day, but it’s worth a try.