|Photo by: Kathleen O'Leary|
February: the month of love for some, and for others, hate--or even the official season of breakups for those bitter about the whole scheme of things.
Whatever your reason for the season, Valentine’s Day is inevitable for those who have a special someone to share it on a romantic candlelight dinner with or for those who would rather sit inside with an oversized bag of Sweethearts as a hot date.
Whether they are as gooey as the heart-shaped chocolate sold at the local drugstore or as edgy as Kurt Cobain’s heart-shaped box, ACRN has compiled an eclectic list of songs that either whisper a passionate “I love you” or mutter an aggravated “I can’t stand you”.
So, this February 14, just as Romeo did for Juliet, go ahead and pick your poisons. And of course by poisons we mean go ahead and take a listen to our playlist song choices.
We'll start off with the lovey-dovey stuff. Then you'll wish you'd never love again.-Capri Ciulla
“Iris” by Goo Goo Dolls
Years ago, my father, quite the romantic himself, told me if I wanted to woo girls with my guitar, one song would do the trick like no other: "Dust in the Wind." Forgive him; he's old.
For me, the perfect Valentine's Day song is "Iris" by the Goo Goo Dolls. "When everything feels like the movies, yeah, you breathe just to know you're alive." Talk about poetry. The song is soft, mysterious, and exciting--very much like love.
In a way, the song has become so clichéd and overplayed, it almost makes me sick, but I still can’t bring myself to hit “skip” whenever I hear the opening notes ring through the headphones of my iPod.
“Iris” is off the same Goo Goo Dolls album as the love-influenced "Slide," both of which you’re sure to hear covered (poorly) at a coffee shop near you, but the original, intimate nature of “Iris,” before it blew up and was commercialized, is one of the truest, from-the-heart physical representations of love we have seen in this generation. It’s what a painter sees on a blank canvas, or what a dancer sees in an empty room.
“Iris” is the first song you turn on after you first get the butterflies, and the song that brings on the first tears after you just had your heart ripped out and stomped on.
“Iris” defines love, and believe you me, there will be no shortage of the Goo Goo Dolls on February 14th for happy (or unhappy) couples everywhere.
-Jacob Betzner, Staff Writer
“Ain’t That a Kick in the Head?” by Dean Martin
“My head keeps spinnin’/I go to sleep and keep grinnin’/If this is just the beginnin’/My life is gonna be beautiful,” the late Dean Martin dreamily belts in his signature swing tone. I’m not sure if my Sicilian roots have anything to do with my song choice but whatever the case, I feel that you can always turn to any of the members of the Rat Pack to make you feel all bubbly inside.
It’s no secret that Dean serves up a giddy and snappy representation of love at first sight with his heartfelt poppy lyrics and signature richly deep vocal delivery. This song, a Ciulla Friday night dinner tradition, reminds me of a spending a romantic evening during the 1950s at an exclusive jazz club in New York City. The cool vibe of this classic pairs well with a fancy dinner date accompanied by a heaping plate of spaghetti in candlelight all the while the lady dons a sparkly dress and the man a fedora and suit. Bellisimo!
-Capri Ciulla, Staff Writer
“I Will” by The Beatles
If rock songs could metamorphose into greeting cards, “I Will”, from the Beatles’ White Album would be a perfect Valentine. Ultra short and hyper-sweet, the 1968 gem from the double-sided classic album expertly executes a precise and sincere declaration of adoration.
A pulsating, perfectly spaced vocal bass line drives a song that is soothing, vague, and wholly mesmerizing. A listening experience akin to catching a glance of someone you personally adore heading your way from a distance.
Sandwiched between the considerably raunchier “Why Don’t We Do It In the Road” and the more committed sort-of love expressed in “Julia,” “I Will” exists in a space that is wholly enchantment – no strings attached. Like the brisk wording of the most tactfully thought out, (and hopefully Batman Beyond themed,) Valentine, 1:47 of McCartney flatly cooing his infatuation leaves a residual 'Good Feeling About The Human Race.'
Maybe it’s the line about “waiting a lonely lifetime,” or maybe it’s the line where McCartney says that, if you want him to, he will wait a lonely lifetime.
Regardless, only one thing is certain: with barely four stanzas of lyrics, the Fab Four somehow entrapped a gorgeous, fleeting aspect of what it means to value another human being as someone beautiful and real.
-Emily Votaw , Staff Writer
“A Walk Through Hell” by Say Anything
Max Bemis has never been one to hold back in his lyrics. He pours his own experiences and emotions into his songs. When I think of Valentines Day, let alone love, the song "A Walk Through Hell" comes to mind. After growing up in the era of Justin Timberlake, Nick Lachey and Nick Carter, I still fall hard for boy bands. However, I've graduated to indie-punk bands like Say Anything.
Love is an action. It is being willing to do whatever for that one person you care and trust in, even "walking though hell." This song really expresses the extent to which someone would go through for a person they loved. He'd calm earthquakes, defeat beasts and hug whirlwinds all to save a girl because his “soul is useless without” her. It really encapsulates wanting no one else besides that person.
His tone is almost desperate and he almost screams the chorus. But as the music slows near the end it is as if he almost whispers the last few lines, “Now I've walked through hell for you, what's an adventurer to do / But rest these feet at home with you.” Now that he has saved her, he's calm and all he wants is to spend time with her. Simple and easy as that.
-Bekky Hobson, Contributor
"Creep" by Radiohead
This is a love song for anyone who has ever felt someone was just out of reach, for anyone who has put someone on a pedestal so high that they seemed forever unattainable.
"Creep" explores a breed of adoration that we may be frightened of simply because of how well we know it, whether we choose to admit it or not. Try listening to it while walking around campus and staring at all the yoga pants.
-Ross Lockhart, Staff Writer
"Love Love, Kiss Kiss" by Alkaline Trio
Anyone who has ever felt bitter about love should listen to “Love Love, Kiss Kiss” by Alkaline Trio. It’s your anthem; you just don’t know it yet.
Alkaline Trio bassist/vocalist Dan Andriano puts into perfect words that annoyed-sick, eye-rolling feeling one gets while walking behind that ridiculous couple holding hands and being generally abhorrent with affection. They (the coupling kind) have plenty of songs about romance. We need an anthem that usurps the power of their tummy-butterflies and kissy-lips.
I’ll let it speak for itself:
“Do you find you like to fall in love with people that you’re never gonna meet?
It’s easier than breaking up and crying in the street.
Do you curse the happy couple?
Do you cringe at wedding bells?
Do you drink up all the punch, while you wish ‘em all to Hell-
Love love, kiss kiss
Blah, blah, blah.
You’re making me sick.
I wish you’d just stop
Showing off for the rest of us that no one wants to love…”
If you’re in the hater category and are looking for something to relate to on a day that surrounds you with paired persons and soft feelings, turn “Love Love, Kiss Kiss” up and find in the song something that is sympathetic to your plight.
-Cassie Whitt, Blogs Editor
“A Perfect Sonnet” by Bright Eyes
Out of all the anti-love songs in the world, there is only one that echoes my bitter sentiments about a holiday like Valentine’s Day. Though I can sometimes find comfort in angsty break-up songs (“You Oughta Know,” anyone?), “A Perfect Sonnet” is the perfect example of my conflicting feelings.
Conor Oberst wishes for a lover in the first few lines (“Lately I’ve been wishing I had one desire / Something that would make me never want another”), but is ultimately left with a feeling of inadequacy. In a fit of rage, he renounces love and curses those who have attained it:
“But I believe that lovers should be tied together
Thrown into the ocean in the worst of weather
And left there to drown
Left there to drown in their innocence.”
Of course I don’t share the same violent tendencies, but seeing happy couples always gets to me. It makes me hate love and anything that reminds me of love. If I can’t have it, why should they? What makes them so special?
As Conor screams his discontent (and perhaps jealousy?) concerning lovers around him, he sees the resentful monster he’s become (“I’ve killed myself with changes trying to make things better / But ended up becoming something other than what I had planned to be”).
In the last four lines, Conor is able to see the beauty in others’ love, and so can I (no sarcasm here).
“Now I believe that lovers should be draped in flowers
And laid entwined together on a bed of clover
And left there to sleep
Left there to dream in their happiness.”
-Sam Boyer, Staff Writer
"The Walk" by Mayer Hawthorne
Sometimes you want to tell off that not-so-significant other in your life with a skip in your step. Should that be the case, has Mayer Hawthorne got a song for you.
Taking a page from the retro, happy-go-lucky feel of Cee Lo Green's girl-denouncing "Fuck You," "The Walk" finds Hawthorne with a pretty gal who, as he explains, as done him wrong.
Finally, enough is enough. "You can walk your long legs, baby, right outta my life," he croons over a funky horn section and background refrains of "So long, you did me wrong."
Looking to break off a relationship this Valentine's Day? Mr. Hawthorne's gonna show you how to do it with class.
-Kevin Rutherford, Editorial Director
"Violet" by Hole
There's only one thing to listen to when guys fuck you over... and that's angry music made my angry women. Who wants to listen to a dude cry or complain about a relationship when it's a man who ripped out your heart and stomped on it? Not me, that's for sure. And in general, nothing epitomizes a pissed off chick than the music of Hole. And nothing epitomizes a relationship not working out than "Violet."
Namely, it's when lead singer Courtney Love goes from whispering to screaming at the top of her lungs:
"When they get what they want, they never want it again. GO ON TAKE EVERYTHING, TAKE EVERYTHING, I WANT YOU TO..."
When you put forward your heart or body to someone and then they don't call you back or dump you or generally act like an asshole, it sucks. If it's someone you cared about, it's totally and completely fair to be pissed off. It's your right, dammit, and far more productive than being weepy.
So, maybe the guy "got what he want[ed]," and maybe you're hurt. That just sucks, ain't no getting around it. But songs like this make you realize that you're not alone in these feelings. But after listening to the ripping guitars, hard-pounding drums and, of course, Love's screaming for three and a half minutes, you'll feel empowered and redeemed.
So, girls: shut the door, blast "Violet" 'til the windows shake, break some shit and scream along. As someone who has done this on more than one occasion, trust me: you'll feel much, much better afterward.
--Carolyn Menyes, Interviews & Live Reviews Editor
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