Okay, so I realize the concept of an anti-Valentine's playlist went GP on us years ago. And I realize that some couples are able to genuinely celebrate Valentine's day, free from the pressures foisted upon us by tacky advertisements. Here's the playlist anyway:
1. The Beatles, Run For Your Life. This is the last track on the critically acclaimed album Rubber Soul. After years of writing silly love songs, John Lennon started developing a really dark side around this time. The song opens with "I'd rather see you dead little girl / than to be with another man" and doesn't get much happier. Yow.
2. The Beach Boys, Here Today. Inspired by the sonic genius of Rubber Soul and by massive amounts of THC, Brian Wilson slapped together the album Pet Sounds, on which this song appears. "Right now you think that she's perfection / this time is really an exception / well you know I hate to be a downer / but I'm the guy she left before you found her."
3. Justin Timberlake, Cry Me A River. The Britney Spears-lookalike in the music video was a concidence, really. "So you took a chance / and made other plans / but I bet you didn't think they'd come crashing down."
4. Bob Dylan, Just Like A Woman. This is vintage Dylan: "She takes just like a woman / she makes love just like a woman / and she aches just like a woman / but she breaks just like a little girl."
5. The Cure, Boys Don't Cry. I'll take a break from the rampant misogyny here. "I would break down at your feet / and beg forgiveness, plead with you / but I know that it's too late / and now there's nothing I can do."
6. Billy Joel, Stiletto. Back to misogyny, with a dash of sadomasochism thrown in for flavor. "She cuts you once / she cuts you twice / but still you believe / the wound is so fresh you can taste blood / but you don't have strength to leave."
7. Bob Dylan, If You See Her, Say Hello. "Oh, whatever makes her happy, I won't stand in the way / though the bitter taste lingers on from the night I tried to make her stay." Apparently Dylan was not just divorced, but also emasculated when he wrote this song.
8. Marvin Gaye, When Did You Stop Loving Me, When Did I Stop Loving You. Speaking of divorce albums, this is from Marvin's own divorce album, Here, My Dear. As part of the settlement, he had to fork over part of the proceeds from this album to his ex-wife. "If you ever loved me with all of your heart / you'd never take a million dollars to part." By the way, feel free to ignore the fact that Marvin was a philandering scoundrel who fathered a child out of wedlock and blew his money on Mike Tyson-esque shopping sprees (thus necessitating the record deal) if that bothers you.
9. Prince, When You Were Mine. Speaking of philandering scoundrels... "When you were mine / you were kinda sorta my best friend / so I was blind /I let you fool around / I never cared / I never was the kind to make a fuss / When he was there / Sleeping in between the two of us." Eew. (Cyndi Lauper's cover is worth a listen as well, though the exchange of gender confuses a few things.)
10. Cyndi Lauper, Money Changes Everything. "Oh how could you do it / we swore each other everlasting love / I said yeah I know but when we did / there was one thing we weren't thinking of and that's / money, money changes everything." Not that I'm cynical or anything.
11. Madonna, Material Girl. Same year (1984) as the track above, same theme. "They can beg and they can plead / but they can't see the light / 'cause the boy with the cold hard cash / is always Mister Right."
12. Dave Matthews, Grace Is Gone. "One drink to remember / then another to forget / How could I ever dream to find / sweet love like you again." Nothing chases away the Valentine's day blues like alcohol. The album gets even funnier at the end when Dave Matthews portrays God as a cosmic bartender.
13. Blue Oyster Cult, (Don't Fear) The Reaper. "Valentine is done / here but now they're gone / Romeo and Juliet / are together in eternity / 40,000 men and women everyday." See, this is what happens when two persons love each other. The statistic quoted in this song is one order of magnitude too high, however.
Well, there you go. Happy Valentine's Day.