Wednesday, February 12, 2020

A Valentine’s Day playlist for people who hate love

Posted By on Wed, Feb 12, 2020 at 1:00 AM

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‘Love is overused and has no good rhymes,” lamented the Grammy-winning songwriter Jimmy Webb.

And that’s true. Think about how many artists have been reduced to rhyming “love” with “glove” in at least three songs. There’s Elvis Costello, Barenaked Ladies, George Jones, Badly Drawn Boy, Aerosmith, Alice Cooper, Marc Almond, Motörhead, Sting… you get the idea.

Best of all was Frank Sinatra, whose repertoire went there at least half a dozen times, resulting in such timeless lyrics as: “Bump into things like someone in love / Each time I look at you I’m limp as a glove.”

And that’s not the only thing wrong with love, especially when it involves actual people. But while we like to blame social media apps for our growing sense of isolation, it’s also worth remembering that social alienation goes back much further than Silicon Valley, or Hallmark greeting cards, or even the incarceration and execution of Saint Valentine himself.

So if you’re not feeling the love this Valentine’s Day, cheer up! You’re not alone. And since nothing takes the sting out of hating love quite like listening to songs about hating love, here’s a holiday playlist just for you:

“This Is Not a Love Song” by Public Image Limited
Never one to understate the obvious, former Sex Pistol John Lydon howls the line “this is not a love song” more than 40 times on this strangely uplifting anthem that, seemingly against all odds, went on to become their best-selling single.

“Sorry” by Beyoncé
An unapologetically scornful electro-pop masterpiece that’s about as far from “Crazy in Love” as you can get. Key lines: “Suck my balls, pause, I’ve had enough” and “He better call Becky with the good hair.”

“A Thin Line Between Love and Hate” by The Persuaders
The New York City R&B group’s sublime mix of orchestrated soul and close vocal harmonies is so pretty that you might overlook lyrics about an emotionally abusive man who comes home at 5 in the morning and wakes up in the hospital.

“Love Like Anthrax” by Gang of Four
“Love’ll get you like a case of anthrax,” declares Gang of Four, “and that’s something I don’t want to catch.” The influential post-punk band may be stretching the truth here — the CDC has yet to classify anthrax as an STD — but it’s as good a metaphor as any.

“Is She Really Going Out With Him” by Joe Jackson
Marshall Crenshaw and Joe Jackson both wrote songs about watching out their window as their ex walks by with another guy, but Jackson wins out for doing it first, and with way more vitriol.

“What’s Love Got to Do With It?” by Tina Turner
In which the post-Ike soul legend poses the question “What’s love but a second-hand emotion?” The recording was subsequently inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame, where it resides alongside Elvis Presley’s “Heartbreak Hotel,” Hank Williams’ “Your Cheatin’ Heart” and Louis Armstrong’s “What Did I Do to Be So Black and Blue.”

“Love Will Tear Us Apart” by Joy Division
Because it can, but only if we let it.

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