ashley dean

The problem with many love songs is that they're stupid, mushy, cliched and, seriously, just astoundingly stupid.

I don't hate love and I'm not a bitter singleton on Valentines Day. I'm doing the relationship thing right now, but that still does not make me want to listen to bad music.

Today, reflecting on how my Valentine's Day hatred is probably exactly as annoying as another person placing too much importance on the holiday, I decided I could find an emotional place in between. At least, outwardly.

You, Friday reader, are thinking, "This is not relevant. It's February 15." Well, I think this still applies outside of America's most gag reflex-triggered holiday. (Or is that the Fourth of July for people who enter hot dog-eating contests?) I can deal with feelings in a way that's not gooey or rock hard.

So, here are some love songs that fit that attitude. Your love might be strong enough to express with music, but you can do it with some killer riffs, beats and rhymes.

The White Stripes, "Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground"

"And every breath that is in your lungs is a tiny little gift to me."

This would sound contrived and icky if Celine Dion were belting it out, but when it comes out of Jack White's mouth, supported by some gnarly guitar solos, it sounds genuine. That's impressive coming from a band in which many things are not as they seem.

Jack White, "Love Interruption"


Yeah, Jack White seems to be quite good at this stuff. This song works fantastically because it expresses so much animosity toward love and the wounds it inflicts, yet still seems to celebrate it, or at least accept it. It's emotionally masochistic and very pretty.

Homeboy Sandman, "Couple Bars (Honey, Sugar, Darling, Sweetie, Baby Boo)"

It's tough to pick a lyrical high point of this track off Homeboy Sandman's latest record, First of a Living Breed, but here's a taste: "Wish I was your articles of clothes, just a particle cotton on your cones. That'd be the most wonderful destiny ever. Only possibility possibly better than being a stitch on your sweater is being human, and me and you together."

Girls, "Magic"

This song comes so, so close to inducing eye rolls, but it doesn't. Chalk it up to the band's rep for getting a lot more down and dark, but it's actually the reasons this song almost goes wrong that make it right. It's just so sweet and straightforward and simple. In a perfect world, we'd all be this honest and lovely.

Ty Segall, "Girlfriend"

I'll be honest. I have no idea what he's saying for at least 50 percent of this song. That's why I like it for this list. It might be a tribute and it might be a diss. Whatever's going on, it sounds ferocious.

All that said, if you still can't get on board with a begrudging tolerance for V-Day, allow me to suggest "Glory Box" by Portishead. Let them seduce you into feeling whatever these feelings are.