Songs for a happy Venereal Disease Day!

February 14th, 2008

From classrooms that mandate everyone gets a card to candy hearts that taste like cardboard, Valentine’s Day might just be the stupidest holiday on the American calendar. For those in relationships, it’s unnecessary pressure. For those who aren’t, it’s as if the world is constantly reminding you how big of a loser you are. And, for those just out of a relationship, it’s a slap to the face.

But I’m here to help. I’ve compiled two mixes of some of my favorite songs—songs to help you get through the day, on to Feb. 15 and on with your life. Some of the suggestions made in the newsroom are certainly good songs… but not songs that I’d pick. (For the record, Features Editor Katie Dolac eats her Ben and Jerry’s to Fleetwood Mac’s “Second Hand News” and Executive Editor Susan Svihlik says the best all time break up song is Ray Charles’s “Hit The Road Jack.”)

First up are the love songs. I’m sure iTunes would rather have your money than Hallmark if you’re still looking for a last minute gift.

1) Tilly and the Wall- “Rainbows in the Dark.” This borders dangerously close to cheese, it’s just so gosh-darn happy. Listen closely—tap dancing provides a good portion of the rhythm section.

2) Huey Lewis and the News- “The Power of Love.” It was cool when Marty skateboarded on the back of cars; it’s still cool today.

3) Counting Crows- “Mrs. Potter’s Lullaby.” Allegedly, Adam Duritz wrote this epic about a fantasy, falling in love with a movie star he didn’t know. It turned out his crush was a friend of a friend—and she swung by the studio to hear the band record the song. 

4) R.E.M.- “Nightswimming.” I’m not even sure this is a love song. But, it certainly captures that stripped-down, personal emotion, with out the obtuse lyrics or overblown instrumentation.
5) Michael Jackson- “The Way You Make Me Feel.” I don’t care about Wacko Jacko, king of the tabloids; I care about Jackson, King of Pop. Not only a great love song, this is simply a great song.

6) The Postal Service- “Such Great Heights.” Iron and Wine’s version (from “Garden State” and those M&M commercials) might be better known, but go with the original, even if it doesn’t sound like a traditional love song.

7) They Might Be Giants- “New York City.” Originally a five borough fairytale by Cub, the Giants’ version seems a lot happier and more optimistic.  

8) Elton John- “Tiny Dancer.” I don’t know if Sir Elton meant this as a love song, but sometimes the artist’s inten-tion simply doesn’t matter. Remember that scene in “Almost Famous” when the entire Stillwater tour bus put aside their differences to sing along? As far as I’m concerned, that’s a love song.

9) The Roots featuring Erykah Badu- “You Got Me.” Jill Scott penned Badu’s hook, but for me, the real star is Black Thought’s storytelling ability.

10) The Push Stars- “Cadillac.” Not only is this a great, beautiful song, but it’s also got this underlying, redemptive message of lying to get what you want. Can’t argue with that.

For those of you getting out of a relationship, here are some break-up songs. It’s frontloaded with depressing num-bers, then some angry tracks, but by the end, you’ll be feeling much better.

1) Dashboard Confessional- “Screaming Infidelities.” It doesn’t get any more depressing than this. If you’ve never heard this before, I’d recommend the original acoustic version over the full band remake.
2) The Streets- “Dry Your Eyes.” Unlikey rap hero Mike Skinner a.k.a. The Streets also gets depressed at the climax of his sophomore album. You feel bad for the guy, pleading with his girl, but deep down you know it’s his fault.
3) The Rolling Stones- “Ruby Tuesday.” Two tearjerkers are more than enough. Besides, this has a great rock n’ roll hook that’s certainly stood the test of time.
4) The Dresden Dolls- “The Jeep Song.” Amanda Palmer curses every time she sees her ex’s car—a ubiquitous black jeep—around Boston.
5) Weezer- “Keep Fishin’.” It was between this or “The World Has Turned And Left Me Here.” This one had Weezer on The Muppet Show in the music video, so it wins.
6) Ben Folds Five- “Song For The Dumped.” Folds has an arsenal of serious break up songs, but in terms of raw anger you won’t get much better than “give me my money back/I want my money back/you bitch.”
7) Reel Big Fish- “All I Want Is More.” Slaphappy and full of adrenaline… with one of the greatest kiss-offs of recent memory.
8) OutKast- “Roses.” Don’t feel bad for Caroline. André 3000’s just venting… and you’re dancing.
9) The Format- “Oceans.” Nate Ruess works out his feelings of antipathy and apathy after his relationship ended… and somehow managed to write an upbeat song.
10) The Clash- “Train in Vain.” You won’t even realize it’s a break up song unless you listen to the lyrics. Guar-anteed to put a smile on your face.

Staff writer Josh Eiserike will be playing Pearl Jam’s “Better Man” for his Valentine. He can be reached at 703-878-8072.


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