With the romance of Valentine’s Day on the horizon, Getintothis’ Will Neville selects an alternative top 10 that goes against the traditional grain.
Valentine’s Day is typically one for romance, hearts and flowers, and confessing your undying love for your significant other, or the unrequited object of your attentions.
There are thousands upon thousands of love songs that fit the mood if you are loved up, or wishing to be, and far be it from Getintothis to decide how you soundtrack your love-making.
If you’re not in the market for a Valentine’s card, you might be bitter and twisted (and blue), perfectly content in your solitude, or actively sharing yourself with all and sundry. Each to their own, after all.
So instead of revisiting all the clichés of eternal happiness, and paired-up joy, this is a top ten of songs for when you have lost love, or have no interest in it.
10. Ben Folds Five – Song For The Dumped
Let’s kick things off with a “well, fuck you too” song to an ex. What Ben is really concerned about at the end of this relationship isn’t the loss of companionship or a sense of intimacy. Rather it’s getting his money back, and “my black t-shirt”.
This was eventually released as the fifth single from their second album Whatever And Ever Amen in 1997, which goes to show how strong a record that is. Look out for the mutilated Action Man-type figures in the video.
9. Billy Idol – Dancing With Myself
If you’ve been dumped, then some things have to be undertaken solo. To keep this clean, we’ll focus on social activities such as dancing.
“Your empty eyes seem to pass me by and leave me dancin’ with myself.”
This had first been recorded by Generation X in 1979, and later remade and released by the rebranded Gen X in October 1980, but barely troubled the charts. Despite its later renown, it wasn’t even a big hit when remixed and reissued in 1983.
The man christened William Broad reached the height of his faintly ludicrous MTV pomp in 1984, with this song then getting heavier play than its sales might have warranted.
He sports a truly ludicrous outfit in a video that oddly seems to rather presage Game Of Thrones.
8. My Bloody Valentine – Emptiness Inside
This top ten surely has to feature MBV, given their highly appropriate name. This song was on the seminal Feed Me With Your Kiss 12” single in 1988, with its lyrics being more antagonistic than the stoic title implies:
“Oh, your pain will be my fun”
7. Taylor Swift – We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together
A resigned lyric at the end of a young love affair features on this lead single off 2012’s fourth LP Red.
It was showered with accolades by the likes of Time, Rolling Stone, MTV and the Grammy’s, as well as being her first US number one hit, also reaching the top five over here (back when that actually meant selling more than a handful…).
6. Tom Waits – Blue Valentines
A voice surely made for broken hearts and bitterness, with Tom’s gravelly tones accompanied by renowned session musician Alvin “Shine” Robinson, who worked with the likes of Dr. John, Carly Simon and Ringo Starr, having previously cut his own songs for the classic Red Bird Records.
“And I cut my bleedin’ heart out every night, and I’m gonna die just a little more on each St. Valentine’s Day”
The closing track from 1978’s fifth LP Blue Valentine, this sparse recording summons images of being alone, but not being entirely sad about it.
5. Caro Emerald – Black Valentine
From black to blue as this smooth Dutch jazz pop singer rejects some of the clichés of falling in love – “Who needs a diamond on a hand of stone?… Who needs a journey on a runaway train?”
It featured on her second album The Shocking Miss Emerald that reached number one in the UK in 2013.
4. Ryan Adams – Love Is Hell
A resigned lyric from the prolific troubadour, ending:
“I could be serious, but I am just kidding around. I could be anything – nothing – whatever, oh well, love is hell.”
The album of the same name from 2004 was originally released as two ep’s, one of seemingly countless records the alt.country legend has released, with all of them having plenty of good moments but none of them quite matching the debut Heartbreaker.
3. Gloria Gaynor – I Will Survive
A truly iconic disco song that has sold more than 14 million copies, hitting the top spot on both sides of the Atlantic, and becoming a feminist and gay anthem.
Shockingly, it was originally released as a B-side in 1978, before enterprising DJs flipped the record.
All together now, “Go on now, go, walk out the door, just turn around now ’cause you’re not welcome anymore”
2. Bob Dylan – Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right
An extremely harsh kiss-off song wrapped up in one of His Bobness’s sweetest melodies, this was the side two opener on 1963’s breakthrough The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan.
However, credit for the tune should actually lie elsewhere as it is heavily based on the traditional (and fabulously titled) song Who’s Gonna Buy Your Chickens When I’m Gone, taught to Dylan by folkie Paul Clayton.
Anyway, Bob Dylan is at his most dismissive in this song:
“You’re the reason I’m trav’lin’ on… You just kinda wasted my precious time”
1. The Smiths – I Know It’s Over
“Oh mother, I can feel the soil falling over my head. And as I climb into an empty bed, oh well, enough said.”
So, we leave you contemplating burying yourself alive. Happy Valentine’s Day!