Tuning Out the Valentine's Day Hype

Feeling more in the mood for the Grinch than Cupid? If so, this one’s for you.

The Valentine’s blues hits those single folks and couples who are unlucky in love. There’s no substitute for someone to hug. But there is an enjoyable way to wallow — musically.

For years, songwriters and crooners have lyrically expressed the downside of romance, squeezing memorable musical whines out of love’s sour grapes.

Topics like “Blues in the Night,” “Mood Indigo” and “Stormy Weather” were ’30s and ’40s fodder for what became jazz standards. It’s questionable if there’d even be a blues or country genre without jilted lovers, betrayed hearts and love gone sour. But it’s rock in all of its varied forms over the past 50 years that have thrust “Big Bad Love” (Alanis Morissette) into an inner circle of hell, upping the notch to more vituperative, in-your-face attitudes.

Add to the mix melancholic, self-effacing, angst-ridden melodies that make breaking up bearable, and you have rock-solid bottom gold.

If you’re enjoying a fine romance, you may want to stop here.

But if you’re not, you might want to read on to add grist to your hard-hearted emotions, perusing the depths of your loneliness, heartache and bitterness through song.

“Nothing could be sadder than a glass of wine alone./Loneliness, loneliness, it’s just a waste of your time,” the Stones sang in “Cry to Me” on their 1972 album, Exile on Main Street.

Use this as your guide, then sift through your CD collection (and albums, if you still have them) or trawl through Napster (if you still can) and put together a play list. Then crank up your stereo, kick back, and wallow.

Should I Stay Or Should I Go?

To set the mood, you might want to start by cuing up the Derek and the Dominos’ classic “Layla.” Not only is this still one of the most recognized rock songs around, but it also tells part one of a true tragic love story. The angst expressed by British blues man Eric Clapton was inspired by his love for Beatle George Harrison’s wife, Patti, whom he later married. Part two of the story: they divorced.

Not knowing what you want. Doing the wrong thing. These are common motifs in the anti-love "genre".

Chart-topping, heart-stopping teen pop queen Britney Spears expresses second thoughts about a breakup in her tune “Baby One More Time”: “My loneliness is killing me/I must confess I still believe/When I’m not with you I lose my mind.” Oops.

On the other side of the love coin, and two decades earlier, Pat Benatar questioned, in “Love Is a Battlefield,” a lover’s similar indecision: “You’re makin’ me go. Then makin’ me stay. Why do you hurt me so bad. It would help me to know.”

Knowing when to get out is a good thing and can be empowering. If you’ve left a relationship that was extremely hard to leave but you knew in your heart of hearts that getting out was the right thing, give Soft Cell’s “Tainted Love” another listen. Or you might want to check out Britney’s boyfriend Justin and his fellow boy band compadres in ’NSync — their answer to such shilly-shally jerking around? “Bye, Bye, Bye.”

Rage Against the Ex

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