Valentine’s Day is associated with so much that I enjoy: pink, chocolate, hearts, love. So I usually skip along through February pretty chipper, as long as I avoid Hallmark stores and the Lifetime Channel, which turn anything subtle and sweet about the holiday into melodramatic sentimentality and high-pressure consumerism.
Plus, February means Blackhearts, the anti-Valentine’s Day whose definition has always remained nebulous for me, though not the less appealing for it. I was first introduced to this concept in high school, and in college the Literary House hosted a February Blackhearts Ball for which everyone dressed up in red and black to celebrate the love holiday ironically.
So, for anyone whose heart beats black, here’s a recent batch of my favorite love songs on everything after, and then before, the pink hearts and fuzzy bears.
Eric Carmen – It Hurts Too Much
Play it when: Time to throw in the towel
Key lines: “You know I tried so hard. I spent so many nights waiting for the phone to ring.”
Pink – Blow Me (One Last Kiss)
Play it when: Angry
Key lines: “I’ll dress nice, I’ll look good, I’ll go dancing alone, I will laugh, I’ll get drunk, I’ll take somebody home.”
Bob Dylan – Don’t Think Twice, It’s Allright
Play it when: It felt like a waste of time
Key lines: “I ain’t saying you treated me unkind. You could have done better, but I don’t mind.”
The Magnetic Fields – You Must Be Out of Your Mind
Play it when: They come back
Key lines: “I want you crawling back to me, down on your knees, like an appendectomy sans anesthesia.”
Josh Ritter – Still Beating
Play it when: Searching for that silver lining
Key lines: “It left you half dead in the street, but that just means you’re half alive.”
Florence + The Machine – Shake It Out
Play it when: Moving on
Key lines: “I’m always dragging that horse around … Tonight I’m gonna bury that horse in the ground.”
St. Vincent and The National – Sleep All Summer
Play it when: You’re not together, but wish you could be.
Key lines: “Cold ways kill cool lovers, strange ways we love to suffer. Why won’t you fall back in love with me?”
Christina Aguilera with Blake Shelton – Just a Fool
Play it when: Feeling regret
Key lines: “I say that I don’t care and walk away, whatever. And I tell myself we were bad together. But that’s just me trying to move on without you.”
Ingrid Michaelson – Maybe
Play it when: Looking forward
Key lines: “Maybe in the future you’re gonna come back around.”
Neon Trees – Animal
Play it when: Starting again
Key lines: “Here we go again, I kinda want to be more than friends. So take it easy on me. I’m afraid you’re never satisfied.”