The Valentine’s Day Playlist: The Best and Worst Schmaltzy Songs

It seems that V-Day fever has slowly but surely infected the Durham population. In just a few hours, even Durham’s musical outlets will be swamped with romantic tripe; from JCRs to bars, to clubs and clothes shops, prepare to be brainwashed by schmaltzy songs and clichés galore.

Whatever your V-Day agenda – to Klute or not to Klute, to sit in your room and watch re-runs of Grey’s Anatomy and/or Bridget Jones or to spend an evening with your soulmate – here are some Valentine’s-inspired playlists to set the mood…

…Or are they?

The Ones You Should Never Play (ever):

Here is a tip: If you’re on a date and this comes on, leave. Immediately.

1. Call Me Maybe – Carly Ray Jepsen

Does this even need commenting on? 2012 is over, and this song needs to stay buried with the rest of Jepsen’s career. Let’s face it, he is never calling you back. You are only going to end up with a restraining order and a bad migraine if you continue.

2. My Heart Will Go On – Celine Dion

Two words: Who cares? If I were on that boat it’s most likely I would’ve pushed you off the edge before hearing the wincing and whining of this song. Vile.

3. Greatest Love of All – Whitney Houston

Not to disrespect any Whitney fans out there, but I’ve just never been a massive fan of this song. With V-Day approaching, it brings my loathing to an all-new level. In my opinion, the ‘greatest love of all’ is an unwavering and unconditional love for Topshop. Or the joy when you finally get a McDonalds after the long and lonely fasting season (aka: term time).

4. Bleeding Love – Leona Lewis

The only thing that is currently bleeding is my ears. From listening to this song. Lewis’ 2007 hit single and bestselling record is best kept in the past. Period.

5. No Air – Jordin Sparks ft. Chris Brown

This revolting song needs to stay away from V-Day and just music in general. I have no time for this song. It needs to be placed in a box, burnt and buried.

The Old School-ers:

Classics. Perfect for that cosy night in – alone, or not alone. Cue the mood lighting.

1. Love Man/Try a Little Tenderness – Otis Redding

The sweet soul of Tenderness versus the riveting pace of ‘Love Man’ will certainly drive away any Valentine’s blues.

2. You’re The Best Thing – Style Council

Weller’s mod vibes echo through this song. It’s mellow, chilled, and perfect for an evening with your soulmate, flat mate, takeaway.

3. I Want to Know What Love Is – Foreigner

Don’t we all? Is it love, or free pizza?

4. Run to You – Bryan Adams

This four-minute album finale serenades a special someone with strong instrumentals, a thundering chorus, and immeasurable passion.

5. Is this Love – Whitesnake

Though this might be my parent’s influence or my dad’s imported white vinyl talking, this is arguably the classic of classics. Either way, it’s an old-school masterpiece “Is this love or am I dreaming, this must be love.”

The Anti-Romantic:

For those of you who physically wince at the sight of a Clintons. Perhaps you just had a break up, or maybe you just enjoy wallowing in your loneliness. V-Day? More like Vom Day.

1. I Sat by the Ocean – Queens of the Stone Age

“Imagine I’d be your one and only, instead I’m the lonely one.” Sound familiar? Thought so. QOTSA are rhythmic and badass in this sassy number. It’s their tribute to moving forward and forgetting about your ex (which is probably what you need right now). Put the hate on pause and find new love in this song.

2. 2. Doctor, Doctor – UFO

This song is for anyone with a psycho ex. It’s an ‘oldie but goody’ and is sure to tug at the heartstrings. As for that iconic guitar riff…Take my advice: save the pennies by skipping on that date with your old flame, and put it towards some great speakers instead.

3. The Wire – HAIM

This is the ultimate ‘get over me already’ song. How the Haim sisters miraculously manage to sum up the notion of ‘it’s just not working anymore’ in just over 4 minutes I will never know…

4. Crying Lightning – Arctic Monkeys

The misery surrounding this sensational song is perfect for anyone feeling anti-valentine. Making a mockery of a past lover, Turner’s tribute to lies and deceit is pure gold.

5. 5. Better Strangers – Royal Blood

The echoes of the Brighton duo’s “there’s nothing left inside” are bound to resonate with your hatred of all things Valentine’s. Thatcher’s steady drum at the start of the song meets Kerr’s consuming bass, the combination of which is sure enough to drown out any sorrow or “hollow” in your heart.

The New-Era Love Songs:

Straight from my own eclectic personal collection, these ‘new era’ love songs will provide the perfect atmosphere for a pleasant and non-vomitable evening.

1. Georgia – Vance Joy

The newcomer’s first album ‘Dream Your Life Away’ is sensational. For me, however, this is the one that really stands out. With an electric vibe and gorgeous lyrics, Vance’s ‘Georgia’ proves that the Australian singer-songwriter is, in actual fact, a true Joy. Share this with your loved ones immediately.

2. Hourglass – Catfish and the Bottlemen

An alternative sentiment to the typical love song, this poetic and emotive number from the Welsh indie-rock quartet is a winner. The lyrics are quasi-crude, but described with irony. ‘Hourglass’ keeps you grounded and in touch with reality.

3. Love is Only a Heartbeat Away – Jamie T

Rightly nicknamed by NME as a “One Man Arctic Monkey”, Jamie T provides us with whispers of Alex Turner’s legendary Submarine soundtrack here. Cheekily hidden on the B side, this song teeters on the sad side but proves a love-y gem nonetheless. Not one to be missed.

4. The Bones of You – Elbow

This classic from Garvey and co. definitely earns a place on my playlist. The rhythmic pace “But image on image like beads on a rosary” is poignant and soul-stirring.

5. 505 – Arctic Monkeys

In my mind, this is one of the greatest love songs ever written. Its melody is haunting and lyrics are simple.If you understand the true meaning of this song and still adore the person you are with, then you, my friend, have found your soulmate.

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