'To get you through your Valentine’s Blues, here is a playlist encompassing the whole emotional spectrum of love’s labour’s lost'twitter/libertines

‘Beware the Ides of March!', Shakespeare once wrote in his Julius Caesar, warning the titular tyrant of his impending doom. But nothing interesting happens in March anymore besides St. Patrick’s Day if you’re feeling green. Perhaps it’s time to give the old spiel a new twist: ‘Beware the Ides of February!’. For it is truly on this 14th of the month when the clocks all strike thirteen. Valentine’s  Day – love is in the air! Time to go on a date, time to find a partner and cuddle up, and, talking about extravagant displays of affection, time to sit in a Whitecastle and hold up a giant heart made of cardboard boxes.

Unfortunately, much of the excitement that the midpoint of the year’s shortest month brings subsides by the time you wake up all alone in your bed on the morning of the 15th. To get you through your Valentine’s Blues, here is a playlist encompassing the whole emotional spectrum of love’s labour’s lost.

“Damaged Goods” by Gang of Four

What better way to start a Valentine’s Playlist than with a song reminding us of what a sham it all is? The track’s sentiment can be summed up in two lines from its chorus: “Your kiss so sweet // Your sweat so sour”. The taste is sweet, the aftertaste insipid. Comparing the relationship to a faulty purchase (Damaged goods // Send them back), it harkens back to the motives behind blowing a random day in winter so out of proportion: it’s a good way to cash in on the many lonely souls out there. Welcome to the rollercoaster ride.

“Pilot Jones” by Frank Ocean

So Valentine’s is full of shit, but isn’t it also kind of nice in a way? The thought of what it might hold in store cranks up your hormones, gets your blood pumping, and makes your heart race at the speed of sound. Love’s like a drug, and “Pilot Jones” admits that “You’re the dealer and the stoner // With the sweetest kiss I’ve ever known” – just don’t blow my high. As an aside, Frank also dishes out the bluntest breakup realization in recent music history: “We once had things in common // Now the only thing we share is the refrigerator”. Ice cold.

“I THINK” by Tyler, the Creator

“I THINK” sounds exactly like what Tyler envisioned when he dreamt it up while skating through his native California: a scene out of an indie film. So much even that somebody made the effort to turn it into a montage of quite a few of them. After reminiscing about all the good times we used to have, we can’t help but feel a sense of longing and re-engagement. Valentine’s Day is what you make of it after all, isn’t it? “I think I’ve fallen in love // This time I think it’s for real”.

“Mi Negrita” by Devendra Banhart

Life is full of contradictions and so is love. It’s symbolized by the grand gestures, but actually resides in the tiniest of things; it’s the rationale of two people looking to find comfort in each other, and at the same an unstable concoction of brewed-together feelings; it’s unspeakably beautiful and at the same time disgustingly ugly. “Faith and love // Ugly love”, Banhart croons over a mellow guitar rhythm. In Spanish, the two phrases “Fe y amor // Feo amor” sound almost identical. It’s a fine line, and “Mi Negrita” walks the tightrope like no other.

“Can’t Stand Me Now” by The Libertines

Written by co-frontmen Carl Barat and Pete Doherty as a declaration of their turbulent relationship, “Can’t Stand Me Now” is like watching a trainwreck in slow-motion: it gradually unravels in front of your eyes and there’s just nothing you can do about it. As it happens, the Libertines split up the same year the track was released, making it a wonderfully bittersweet swan song. “Cornered, the boy kicked out at the world // The world kicked back a lot fuckin’ harder now”. Some fights you just can’t win, making us flee headfirst into what’s next. 

“Santeria” by Sublime

The dust has settled but the feelings haven’t. No more screaming and shouting at each other, but just quiet resignation. As the lovers drift away, their passion turns into resentment – for each other, but also their new partners. Sublime’s answer to “I hope you’re happy” is “If I could find that jaina and that Sancho that she’s found // Well I’d pop a cap in Sancho and I’d slap her down”. Of course Varsity does not condone violence in any way, and neither does “Santeria”, finishing its revenge fantasy and the song with the line “My soul will have to wait”. It’s all a question of time. 

“Digsy’s Dinner” by Oasis

Did you really think that a proper Valentine’s playlist can do without at least one Britpop song? Think again, honey. Instead of lamenting your fate, you realize that it’s not really you who’s missing out here – it’s them. “What a life it would be // If you could come to mine for tea // I’ll pick you up at half past three // We’ll have lasagna”. Their loss, really, making it all the harder to blame their friends for going green over your culinary skills. Instead of picking up the pieces, it’s time to hand in that application for The Great British Bake Off.

“Ladies of Cambridge” by Vampire Weekend

As noted in a previous article, Vampire Weekend screams Oxbridge like few other bands. While their early B-side “Ladies of Cambridge” talks about that other place across the Atlatic who stole our sacred name, the parallels are all too clear. Substitute Chestnut Hill with Grantchester, the Charles with the Cam, and graveyard bricks with those in Trinity (for both places are equally steamy) and there you go. Lofty as it may seem, at the end of the day Cambridge is a place like any other, just a bit more posh and glorified perhaps, and the pace of Lent term makes us move on faster than we can count to week five.

“It’s Time to Wake Up 2023” by La Femme

Our Valentine’s excursion ends on the Monday after. We are woken up by the lovely sound of an alarm clock buzzing us out of bed about 12 hours too early. Still, we slept a bit longer than expected, finding ourselves in the not-so distant future of 2023. Much of our planet has been annihilated in a nuclear holocaust, leaving us as one of the few survivors. But, like every morning, we are lucky, because we have two kidneys and we’re alive, and if that didn’t sound good enough already, then rest assured that it sounds even better in French. With two suns in the sky, what could be brighter than the future?

BONUS TRACK: キラーボール (Killer Ball) by Gesu No Kiwami Otome 


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Mountain View

Music for your week 4

Because ending on visions of an apocalyptic future that might just come true might be a bit too dark, we start into week five on a slightly more upbeat tune. The pessimist might say that “Killer Ball” is about being stuck in the hamster wheel of love time and time again, always falling for the same trap. But allow an alternative interpretation from this alternative playlist: “I just realized // As the Killer Ball was spinning // That unless I stop dancing // No one will get hurt”. There it is: dance on we must, and the Killer Ball it is! Rather than splurge on vain Valentine’s attempts, buy a ticket for your May Ball of choice (or go to MWA) and clock in some quality time with your friends. You know what they say: chocolate hearts are nice, but survivor photos are forever.

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