Tunesday: Anti-love love songs for Valentine’s Day

Illustration for Tunesday playlist, with a phone, vinyl record, and earbuds
Alexander Hong/Senior Staff

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If there’s one particularly special thing to appreciate about Valentine’s Day, it’s the duality of the holiday. On one hand, you have sappy, lovey ballads and legendary anthems played nonstop, proclaiming what can only be described as true love. Well, dear listener, you won’t find any of that here. In the true spirit of Valentine’s Day’s uglier half, this playlist is packed with bitter and angry, but upbeat and uplifting songs casting away the guise of a functioning relationship. It’s the key needed to unlock one from the shackles of love.

“Roses,” OutKast

It’s impossible to craft a playlist with a theme of anti-love without this scathing, sarcastic banger by hip-hop duo OutKast. From the captivating bass to the sheer disdain in André 3000’s vocals, “Roses” is sure to dredge up all the bad memories of love gone sour and then promptly toss them out the window. Blasting this song is like catharsis — don’t be surprised if some of that rage comes out through dancing and singing along. For those who hold unrequited love toward someone named Caroline, show this to them at one’s own risk.

“Monkey Wrench,” Foo Fighters

Foo Fighters probably aren’t the first band to come to mind when thinking of any type of love song. But they have an arsenal of angsty love songs under their belt just like the next post-grunge band, so don’t rule out “Monkey Wrench” just yet. It’s an unapologetic declaration to free oneself from the throes of love, to be bogged down by its commitments no longer. Call the interpretation overdramatic, but “Monkey Wrench” fills an essential part of the anti-Valentine’s Day puzzle with its refusal to fall prey to a manipulative relationship, all while boasting a loud, boisterous energy.

“Girl U Want,” Devo

Modeled after the staple love song “My Sharona,” “Girl U Want” is mockery of lust at its finest. Preaching criticism against idealized standards for a love interest, Devo hits the nail on the head that perfect love just isn’t possible. There’s still time, however, to make peace with the fact that “the one” probably doesn’t exist. Instead of floundering in a relationship that obviously will never bear fruit, take some time to reevaluate your priorities regarding love and better yourself first. With this funky song by your side, you’ll be armed and ready to battle unrealistic love.

“Love Stinks,” The J. Geils Band

The song’s title says it all. If anything, one of the J. Geils Band’s most recognizable songs will give you a good laugh. The 1980s rock composition — along with its simple yet effective chorus of “love stinks yeah yeah” — fully sums up the feelings of everyone who hates Valentine’s Day. And if the line “love stinks” doesn’t fully convince you, vocalist Peter Wolf breaks it down further. “You love her/ But she loves him/ And he loves somebody else/ You just can’t win,” he sings. If you’re still not sold, the J. Geils Band has an entire album aptly titled Love Stinks for perusal.

“It’s Oh So Quiet,” Björk

Tucked into an album of mostly love songs (besides stomping track “Army of Me”), “It’s Oh So Quiet” is a fiery statement song about how everything’s nice and calm until the dreaded L-word takes over your life. From then onwards, chaos is the only familiar emotion. Featuring big band-inspired instrumentals and Björk’s insane vocal range, “It’s Oh So Quiet” is nothing short of a wake up call — a passionate roller coaster denouncing the trials and tribulations one must endure with loving someone. Are these stages of turmoil really worth it? Björk thinks not, and those just may be the words to live by this Valentine’s Day.

Contact Pooja Bale at [email protected]. Tweet her at @callmepbj.