What We’re Listening to – Valentine’s Day Edition

Like many of you, music is constantly on our minds, especially during holidays and other commemorative events.  In this series, we give some thoughts about the songs that soundtrack our lives.

Valentine’s Day can really be a mixed bag of emotions for some – for many it reminds us of the love from partners past and present, love gone unrequited, or even the fact that love gets a price tag every February 14th.  Here we talk about the songs that bring up those emotions for us – and much more.

Liz Phair – “Shatter”

I realize that I don’t really come across as this type of person, but I actually really enjoy Valentine’s Day.  It consists of everything I dislike or don’t comprehend all mashed up into one big corporate holiday, and I think all those combinations together somehow make it something I have a paradoxical fondness for.  I often find myself browsing the seasonal aisles of drug stores during this time of year, looking at all the stuffed animals and other gift sets and imagining who will be gifting them.  This emotions immediately bring me to Liz Phair, who wrote a whole album exploring these kind of feelings, specifically “Shatter”, which describes that same kind of feeling I have about Valentine’s Day but instead about a person, which is something I’m no stranger to either. – Sara


Beach House – “Levitation”

To me, Beach House and Valentine’s Day go hand in hand. Their beautiful, evocative music has served as the soundtrack to mine and my girlfriend’s relationship over the years. Beach House’s song “Levitation,” which opens their 2015 album Depression Cherry, gives me butterflies whenever I hear those first steady taps on the cymbal. Victoria Legrand sings romantically of a “you and me” going anywhere we want to as the music lifts off to the utopian dream state some call “love.” – Emily


Warpaint – “Biggy”

February in my city is a disorienting time, being one of the coldest yet one of the sunniest months of the year. The confusion and wonder provoked by the merging of blue sky and black ice is perfectly encapsulated in the detached haze of Warpaint’s self-titled album. For me, their layers of warm, enveloping melodies and jagged rhythms always conjure this part of the year, where spring shows itself in brief glimpses only to recede into the frost again. The song “Biggy” especially captures the feeling of watching the winter sun glimmer through cascades of dust, swirling above a shelter of blankets or the heat of a lover. It is a testament to the group’s ability to evoke moments of quiet intimacy, those brief glimpses into a shared otherworld far away from the cold. – Lily


Charly Bliss – “Percolator”

I don’t feel strongly either way about Valentine’s Day, so it might seem odd that during this season I’m drawn to an album that focuses heavily on how shitty dating can be. However, Guppy by Charly Bliss is so infectious that my boyfriend and I often find ourselves launching into impromptu duets of many of the tracks, with album opener “Percolator” being the most common. Filled with punchy lyrics and powerful guitar riffs, it’s a perfect song to soundtrack the Valentine’s Day of anyone who has been told they invest too much emotion in failed relationships. Vocalist Eva Hendricks triumphantly rejects this notion, instead declaring that “it’s cool” to be “in touch with [your] feelings.” Whether you’re single or not, I highly recommend unwrapping some heart-shaped candies to that sentiment. – Mollie


The Ronettes – Be My Baby

Valentine’s Day always brings me back to 1997. I was 8 and bought my father the kind of present you get for the man who has everything: a jumbo-size Hershey’s Kiss. In the 15 minutes it took for my parents to get dinner ready, I somehow managed to eat his whole gift in record time. Surprisingly, I did not go into a diabetic coma. This is by far the most successful Valentine’s Day I’ve ever had. Thinking of that moment, I chose something as reliable as a 7oz. Hershey’s Kiss: “Be My Baby,” by The Ronettes off of their Presenting the Fabulous Ronettes Featuring Veronica LP. It’s an old standard, but there’s a reason Brian Wilson was obsessed with this song. Yes, it was produced by one of the worst human beings and yes, it has one of the greatest drum phrases of all time, but the song simply wouldn’t work without Ronnie. There’s a sweetness and longing in her voice that no one’s ever been able to recreate with all those unnecessary covers. The whole album is filled with darling gems of a young woman falling in love, but everything is magical about this sweetheart of a song: the random castanets, the muted violins, the fade out. Joyful, a little sad and gender neutral – the perfect love song. – Andrea

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