27 Love Songs for Valentine’s Day (for Folks Who Prefer Halloween)

No, this has nothing to do with rhetoric directly (well, there’s the rhetoric of music and sound, but that’s not what I’m thinking about today). Another snow day and a hundred happy-go-lucky Valentine’s Day posts on Facebook (not that there’s anything wrong with that) got me thinking about what an alternative Valentine’s Day playlist might look like. I could entertain myself with such a project for days, but I won’t. Instead, I went through the dusty iPod in my head to come up with a few (well, more than a few) songs I’d put on a darker Valentine’s playlist. Most of the songs are older, but I occasionally do listen to some of what the kids are listening to these days, so a few are from this decade and they are in no particular order.

“This Time of Night” by New Order: My favorite track from the Low Life album. “Now you must decide. What good’s a lie when you’ve nothing to hide. Maps they’ll never show. They’re dumb like you, they never know. It’s time we said goodbye. Bury your head and silence your cry. Know the feel of pain. Join our world and play our game.”

“The Dead of Night” by Depeche Mode: It’s got zombie rooms, so duh.

“The Pink Room” by Angelo Badalamenti (Fire Walk With Me soundtrack): Does anything scream blissful romance and happy-go-lucky love louder than Twin Peaks?

“Ode to a Boy” by Yaz: One of the best voices of the 80s (or ever). Slow and steady. “I watch his lips caress the glass, his fingers stroke it’s stem and pass. To lift a cigarette at last, he dries his eyes. From a shadow by the stair I watch as he weeps unaware. That I’m in awe of his despair.” K-reepy and awesome.

“Solar Midnight” by Lupe Fiasco: Here’s one for the kiddies. You Gen-Xers will just have to ignore that it came from the Twilight soundtrack because while those movies sucked, the soundtracks didn’t.

“The Chauffeur” by Duran Duran: Those who know me know there’s no way Duran Duran wasn’t gonna be here somewhere. This song was right after “Save a Prayer” on the Rio album. As a teen, I had a turntable that would automatically send the needle to its base and turn off the turntable at the end of an album. I went to sleep to “Save and Prayer” and “The Chauffeur” for many, many weeks. Simon’s whiney voice is put to good use on this one. Kiddies, cover your eyes!

“Joey” by Concrete Blonde: One of the other best voices of all time, Johnette Napolitano. The song was released at the perfect time for me. Ah, young love! And no, I don’t mean I was dating a guy named “Joey”.

“The One Thing” by INXS: Oh Michael Hutchence, you’re perfect. This wasn’t my favorite of your hairstyles, but dang you can move. Oh, and the song? It’s awesome.

“Time and Space” by Flesh for Lulu: Those eyebrows creep me out, but this airy ditty has a darker edge and sweet lyrics: “Time and space won’t keep us down. I see your face and my feet don’t touch the ground. We could fall in love. We could change the world. We could see each other floating through the girl. And every move I make takes me back to you. And when we’re it’s over, the light comes shining through.” See? Sweet.

“I Get Around” by Dragonette: Another one from this decade. This is not your Beach Boys’ “I Get Around”, but it’s just as danceable. And three cheers for a song that celebrates women for doing what men get to do regularly without similar negative social consequences!

“Pulse” by Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark: A classic band but a new song. “I’ll give you clear instructions. How to use the functions. Fuckin’ listen cos it’s…what you came for .” I think he’s talking about advice for using a Mac, but I can’t be sure.

“The Velvet Edge” by My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult: There’s just so much mushy love in the TKK catalogue it’s hard to choose. But I choose this one.

“Kinda I Want To” by Nine Inch Nails: Sticking with the “so much mushy stuff it’s tough to choose” theme, Nine Inch Nails must make an appearance. This guy has had some serious heartbreak in his life and we are the beneficiaries! And besides, “I know it’s not the right thing. And I know it’s not the good thing. But kinda want to.” Who hasn’t felt that way a million times before?

“Lucky” by Radiohead: You can just float away on this dark and dreamy one. Plus, it was the soundtrack of the best scene of the Six Feet Under series for me (when the family burned all their stuff on the driveway).

“Vegetation and Dimes” by Robyn Hitchcock and the Egyptians: Yeah, you’ve never heard of him, kids, but he’s amazing. Take a listen. “Let’s pretend it’s fine, honey. Let’s pretend you’re mine, honey. In this city of lies real life is a crime.” It’s one of my favorite slow burns.

“Uninvited” by Alanis Morrisette: If you missed her performance of this one on the Grammy’s (not the performance below) when it was nominated from the City of Angels soundtrack, you missed one of the best live performances I’ve ever seen. The simultaneous pain and beauty in this song is just perfect.

“I Burn” by The Toadies: A Ft. Worth band I saw some back in college, so of course they had some hits once I’d already moved to Athens, GA. This is my favorite song of theirs. It builds beautifully to a powerful crescendo.

“Six Underground” by Sneaker Pimps: Trip-hop from the 90s that’s dark and delicious.

“I Wear Your Ring” by the Cocteau Twins: Don’t try to understand her because you can’t. And even when you find the lyrics, you still really can’t understand her. So, just enjoy it. “Men are so nice (lays can be). He pleases me fine. Men are so useful (he’s a flirt). Men are so useful (reflection beauty). Men are so nice. He pleases me fine (reflection beauty). Men are so useful.”

“Velouria” by The Pixies: Another one of those songs that came out at the perfect time for me. No, I wasn’t dating a boy named “Velouria.”

“Oldest Story in the World” by The Plimsouls: Heartbreak from 1983 and perfectly placed in the movie Valley Girl. Such an under rated band.

“The Ghost in You” by The Psychedelic Furs: One of my favorite bands of all time and one of the best voices of all time, too. And I can attest that Richard Butler has the softest hands on the planet after a handshake at the last show I saw. So, there’s all that. Plus, it’s just gorgeous. “A race is on, I’m on your side and hearing you, my engines die. I’m in a mood for you. Or running away.”

“Clear” by The Cranes: Has anyone else heard of this band? I love ’em. As with the Cocteau Twins, it’s futile to try and understand her. “Tears on my face in my eyes in my hair. I call out your name but there’s no one there. Nights are cold and the days aren’t sunny. Nothing in the fridge and there’s fuck all money. At least I’ve got a brain and a way to think clear. Use all my resources to get out of here.” I think that all of their stuff is haunting.

“Under the Milky Way” by The Church: A song so good I’ve never even heard a bad remake of it.  “And it’s something quite peculiar. Something that’s shimmering and white. Leads you here despite your destination under the milky way tonight. Wish I knew what you were looking for. Might have known what you would find.”

“More Than This” by Roxy Music: What Roxy Music/Brian Ferry song do you choose? I choose the one I remember loving first. “Yeah, I’ve never had the words to say, but now I’m askin’ you to stay for a little while inside my arms. And as you close your eyes tonight, I pray that you will see the light that’s shining from the stars above.”

“Blood, Milk, and Sky” by White Zombie: Nothing says “romance” like White Zombie. Granted, they may be talking about romance with a corpse, but who am I to judge?

“Supermassive Black Hole” by Muse: I’ll end with one from one of the best bands around these days.

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