Does the thought of Valentine’s Day just make you want to draw the blinds and sit in a darkened room, watching old repeats on TV while you eat your own body weight in ice cream? Does Cupid’s arrow look more like a poisoned dart than a potentially euphoric love injection? Did you scratch a former love’s initials in a tree one balmy summer’s evening, and now want to go back to the forest, cut the tree down and… hell, why not burn the whole damn forest to the ground?
Wait – don’t get done for arson. We have just the thing for you…
The love song arguably expresses the most universal of all emotions, but, come 14 February, plenty of us can be found licking our wounds – or perhaps trying to avoid the advances of a woefully misguided suitor (as Shania Twain’s catchy put-down goes: ‘That Don’t Impress Me Much’).
And while the love song often expresses feelings that we all hope to experience at some point in our life, love itself can drive us to extremes. “She f__king hates me!” Puddle Of Mudd scream in their tale of love gone sour, while Eminem’s ‘Kim’ is a typically dark exploration of a toxic relationship that brings a couple to their lowest.
But the anti-love song doesn’t have to be a downer. “This ain’t a song for the broken-hearted,” sings Bon Jovi on ‘It’s My Life’, an uplifting anthem for anyone looking to reclaim their independence and fearlessly launch themselves back into the world.
For something a little less bombastic, try R.E.M.’s ‘Everybody Hurts’. It may sound downbeat, but Michael Stipe’s message is clear: you are not alone. Hang on. Take comfort in your friends. If you’re looking for universal truths, they’re right here.
Yes, it is indeed time to sing along – to songs that express a range of emotions, from anger to humour, fear to despair. The common thread might be love, but that is, as the old song goes, a many-splendoured thing. And for some on Valentine’s Day, acknowledgement of these other feelings is exactly what’s needed.
Set the sense that your fortunes are turning around? Follow the Best Love Songs Ever playlist here.