Seeing as yesterday was the day of Saint Valentine, when lovers of the world join together to go out and eat expensive dinners and parade their affection for all the world to see, when greeting card companies and florists rake in the big dough, when cupid flies across the land, shooting his painful golden arrows into the hearts of unsuspecting, decent, single human beings who would have been perfectly fine in their studio apartments curling up with their cats on the couch watching Ken Jennings kick an IBM computer’s ass on the Jeopardy “man vs. machine” special edition if they hadn’t been “hit with the love bug,” I thought that it might be nice to look at some of the greatest post-love songs ever written. These songs talk about the dark side of romantic relationships, where life isn’t all cupcakes and hearts and Hello Kitty. These songs take a look at what happens after the expensive Valentine’s dinner comes out the other end and the flowers die and the fruit-filled chocolates are all half-eaten. Here are the 30 greatest post-Valentine’s songs ever written (in my humble opinion):
First, a few honorable mentions: “Go Your Own Way” by Fleetwood Mac, “Something in the Water (Does Not Compute)” by Prince, “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor.
30.)Parliament–”Handcuffs” when George Clinton asks “Do I hafta keep my handcuffs on ya mama?!?–Do I hafta keep ya under lock and key?” we feel this eccentric funkmeister’s pain at having to keep his woman in bondage so she won’t stray in the neighborhood.
29.) “You Were the Last High” by the Dandy Warhols–Romantic love is the opiate of the masses, and the Dandy Warhols are jonesin’ for another fix in this kool ditty.
28.) “Bachelorette” by Bjork–”If you forget my name, you will go astray, like a killer whale trapped in a bay.” Huh? no one can come up with a post-love metaphor quite as quirkily as this Icelandic diva!”
27.) Biz Markie, “Just A Friend.” Timeless story about the girl who says the guy she kicks it with is just a friend. That is, until the Biz catches her tongue-kissing him in her college dorm room…Awkward!
26.) Grizzly Bear, “Knife” – “When I look in your eyes with every blow comes another lie…can you feel the knife?” The mellowest angry post-love song ever.
25.) Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, “The Game Gets Old”–Great soul-stirring ode to that tiresome game that we can’t help but play each and every Valentine’s day.
24.) “Good Things” by Sleater-Kinney–Angsty, awkward, raw look at how the ones we really want always seem to get away.
23.) “Not About Love” by Fiona Apple–Fiona’s not in love, and yet she still misses that stupid ape! Is she referring to Paul Thomas Anderson or Zach Gafianalkis? Hard to know for sure, yet the sentiment captures the contradictory nature of the relationship merry go round.
22.) “Tainted Love/ Where Did Our Love Go?” by Soft Cell–Marc Almond does his best spurned bad girl routine in this ode to sixties girl groups and tainted new wave English boys. “You think love is to pray, well I’m sorry, I don’t pray that way!” Go, girl!
21.) Moonhearts, “Love is Gone”– sad, angry, kool garage rock-y love hangover…
20.) “Things We Said Today” by the Beatles—McCartney’s ode to Jane Asher (the first love of his life), this song is sober, melancholy and just plain cool.
19.) “Shespider” by Mew– a strange-ish, rockin’ post-love romp about trusting your heart to someone, only to have that trust betrayed in a web of deceit. Interesting allusions to right-wing paranoia and xenophobia make this song even spookier.
18.) “I’m not Crying” by Flight of the Conchords. Brett and Gemaine knew she was leaving them when she told them she was leaving them. Nothin’ gets past these two. But if you think they’re crying, think again–it’s just been raining directly on their faces! A beautiful ballad about keeping a dry lower-lid in the face of pain
17.) “Used To Love Her” by Guns N’ Roses–Only Axl and the boys could make such a misogynistic song about a love gone wrong and almost get away with it.
16.) “Back To Black” by Amy Winehouse–”You go back to her, and I go back to black.” This is what happens when your boyfriend dumps you right before the dreaded “V” day to get back together with his controlling ex-girlfriend. Life becomes like a pipe, and you’re the shiny penny rolling up the walls inside! No one comes up with creative spurned lover metaphors quite like miss Winehouse!
15.) “The Flowers” by Regina Spektor–”The flowers you gave me are rotting and still I refuse to throw them away.” This is what happens when your lover breaks up with you right after Valentine’s day. Not a pretty sight.
14.) “D-I-V-O-R-C-E” by Miss Tammy Wynette–The title says it all. First comes L-O-V-E, then comes M-A-R-R-I-A-G-E, then comes the lawyer screaming “A-L-I-M-O-N-Y!!!”
13.) Tina Turner–”What’s Love Got to Do With it?” — The legendary rock goddess keeps ole’ cupid in check with this down-to-earth reminder that relationships can also be a many-splintered thing!
12.) “Hope There’s Someone” by Antony and the Johnsons-- A painfully beautiful, poignant dirge about the desire to have someone in your life, just to be there with you, so that you’re not alone when things get rough and lonely and you’re about to die.
11.) “In the Pines (Where Did You Sleep Last Night?)” by Lead Belly–A raw, bluesy look at female infidelity.
10.) “Karma Police” by Radiohead–”This is what you get when you mess with love.” You said it, Thom.
9.) “Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright” by Bob Dylan–”You just sorta wasted my precious time…” ah. no wonder why he’s “the voice of a generation!”
8.) “Without You” by Harry Nillson–the best song to play over and over and over again in your bedroom while cryaioking (that’s karaoke-crying in layman’s terms) after having two six-packs, a pint, and a break-up email from the one you love desperately.
7.) “Cryin’” by Roy Orbison– as good as a “tears in your beer” song gets. Roy could make a happy face weep.
6.) “Here, My Dear” by Marvin Gaye--Written by Mr. Gaye for his recent ex-wife, Motown legend Barry Gordy’s daughter. The album of the same title was one of the obligations Gaye had to fulfill as part of his divorce settlement. With awkwardly personal lyrics such as “You don’t have the right to use the son of mine to keep me in line,” the song is a sober reminder of just how painful and ugly the dissolution of a relationship can be.
5.) “Heart of Glass” by Blondie—we’ve all been through this one–you have a lover, it’s a gas and then it turns out to be a pain in the ass! What can I say…these things happen! Plus this song has one of the best post-Valentine’s day lines–”Mucho mistrust, love’s gone behind.”
4.) “50 ways to Leave Your Lover” by Paul Simon–A song from the dumper’s perspective. In this song, Simon gives specific directions on how to walk out on the one you once loved without looking back. “Just drop off the key, Lee, and get yourself free…”
3.) “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers Anymore” by Diamond and Streisand– A sappy, mellow ballad about what happens when a relationship just grows plain stale: “I learned to love, I learned to lie, you’d think I’d learn how to tell you goodbye.” Perhaps Neil and Barbra could take a lesson from Mr. Simon.
2.)“Love Hurts” by Nazareth–or is it “Love Stinks”? I can never remember what the correct title of this song is, but either way, it kind of sums up the post-romantic blahs quite like no other song can.
And the number one post-Valentine’s day song is:
1.) “Love Hangover” by Diana Ross– The best post-romance “morning after” song ever! Miss Ross is the boss in this sexy, sensual disco number about feeling good and hung over after a romantic night of passionate lovemaking. The song starts out slowly, as Miss Ross wakes up from a red-hot, passionate slumber, eyes glazed over like two shiny mirrorballs, only to be revived into a rollicking, sweaty disco frenzy, as the former Supreme pouts ands moans about the previous night’s exhaustive embrace backed up by a pulsating bass and drum beat, proving that not all post-love songs have to be sad or mad. “If there’s a cure for this, I don’t want it”…Indeed!
What are your favorite post-Valentine’s day tunes? KZSC would like to know. You can add your selections in the response portion of this blog post, and perhaps we can keep the chain of post-romance songs going until cupid comes calling again next February 14th!