This month, the collective brings you their personal Valentine's Day playlist for the collaborative blog. These mixes express love not only for romantic relationships, but talk about a love of food, love of home, and more.
For the love of food, here are five songs.
Song: “Savoy Truffle”
Artist: The Beatles
Album: White Album
Dig chocolate? Eric Clapton, who collaborated in “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” fucking adored chocolate, and George Harrison wrote a joke song about Clapton's seeming addiction to the stuff. It describes the various flavors offered by Mackintosh's Good News chocolates, a brand Clapton found at Harrison's home. For V-Day, this is perfect for someone with a Clapton type in their life. Not only does this song reflect a love of chocolate, but it can serve as a cheeky culinary expression of love to your significant — chocolate-addicted — other.
Song: “Banana Pancakes”
Artist: Jack Johnson
Album: In Between Dreams
This one's obvious, maybe, but it's for everyone. Even if you wake up in bed alone on Sunday, hearing this song will make you fall in love with sleeping in and the subsequent banana pancakes you'll enjoy during a day-long “Fallout 4” session. The squeak of Johnson's fingers sliding up and down his acoustic guitar paired with that cheery voice and upbeat sound invoke images of the “little things,” those precious, ineffable, secret moments.
Artist: Nowhere Man & A Whiskey Girl
Album: Nowhere Man & A Whiskey Girl
Juneberries are apparently a big new North-American crop, so the song title has me thinking this is another fun, cute entry — but not all food-related songs are meant to comfort and console. Sometimes, life fuckin' sucks, and we need songs about life's sucky times to move on. The Bisbee duo that wrote this song, Amy and Derrick Ross, passed tragically a few years ago when Amy died in surgery and Derrick shot himself days later. The lyrics borders on nonsensical and cute, but dark overtones and hints enshroud the playful lyrics in doubt, loss, and regret. “Do you believe how far I made you fall? / Do you believe those quiet little voices in your head? / Do you believe in anything at all?” The personality created within the lyrics wants so badly to relate and connect, but seems defeated, which is sadly all too relatable.
Song: “I'm a Tangerine”
Artist: Tommy James & the Shondells
Album: Crimson & Clover
“Hello, banana. I am a tangerine.” It's an acid trip of a tune, and the kind of song that dubs pet names. Doesn't matter if you're single or not — revel in describing your tangerine-ness to your lover, sing along to profess your love of tangerines, or think long and hard about the pet name, Tangerine, used in the Jim Carey film “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.” As for sound, the song bleeds 60s psychedelia, but it's mucky and thick like the pace of doom metal — think Ultimate Spinach meets Sleep.
Song: “Polk Salad Annie”
Artist: Tony Joe White
Album: Aspen Colorado
When financial difficulty hit Tony Joe White's family, they found both in a dish called poke sallet, made from the poisonous pokeweed. This swampwater-soaked blues tune reminds us that we can sustain and thrive, even in hard times and against the odds. Have you found your pokeweed? Whatever your poke sallet might be in hard times, hold them close — they’ll get you through.
Valentine’s Day is one of my favorite holidays. Blah blah blah yeah it’s corporate, but it’s still a great excuse to celebrate friendship and most of all - celebrate Arizona’s birthday! These 5 songs profess my love for this beautiful desert that I call home. Happy 104th birthday, you big beautiful gal.
Song: “Raiford The Felon Wind”
Album: Hex; or Printing in the Infernal Method
A few years ago, some good friends and I went on a mid-summer day trip to Sedona to escape our boredom and spend some time outdoors. We ended up finding a spot in the mountains that was secluded from the trails and had the most pristine view of the red buttes and monoliths. We spent hours in that same area just being in awe of our surroundings. At one point, I put on my headphones and went on a solo walk while listening to “Raiford The Felon Wind”, and although I loved the song previously, it had never resonated with me as well as that moment walking in the Sedona wilderness. The song perfectly captures the harshness of Arizona’s climate while the psychedelic reverb gives it this ethereal quality reminiscent of the Sedona’s mystical atmosphere. The drawn out hum of each note in this song is akin to the vast openness of the desert, and the spaghetti-western tinged riff makes you feel the heat rising from the dusty grounds. This song will always remind me of the beauty found in the severe Arizona nature.
Song: “Nouveau Western”
Artist: MC Solaar
Album: Prose Combat
Okay, well I felt obliged to have one song on my playlist that had “Arizona” in the lyrics, and this song has it in the first line so there’s that. Aside from my little gimmick there, this is one of my favorite tracks from France’s most influential hip hop artist, MC Solaar. I love the cinematic beat, and I wish I understood French because his flow is amazing and I’m sure Google Translate doesn’t do his lyrics any justice.
Song: “El Milagro Verde”
Artist: Chicha Dust
Album: Live at the Dust Ballroom
I moved to Tucson for college about six years ago, and seeing Chicha Dust (now XIXA) live my sophomore year at pop-up art show was the first time that I truly fell in love with Tucson. For those unfamiliar with chicha music, it’s a subgenre of cumbia that became popular in coastal cities of Peru and fuses psychedelic rock and surf rock with traditional huayno. Chicha Dust has not only revived this genre, but have captured the energy of the Sonoran desert to represent the lively spirit that dwells in our little desert city. Every time I see them live, I find myself surrounded by beautiful people, beautiful rhythms, beautiful culture - and I find myself falling in love with Tucson all over again.
Song: “Speak to the Wind”
Album: The Legend of God’s Gun
What can I say...living in Arizona for my whole life has made me a sucker for anything that sounds even relatively close to an Ennio Morricone score. There are always bands that try to emulate that Western cinematic sound, but Spindrift has mastered the craft and set themselves apart by incorporating a retro-psychedelic blues in their roots. I first saw this band live at Tucson’s old favorite watering hole, The District Tavern (RIP), and it was another one of those falling-in-love-with-Tucson moments where everyone was getting in touch with their cowboy-selves in one of the best dive bars that the Southwest had to offer. I highly recommend Spindrift’s music when going on drives through barren landscape in 100+ degree weather.
Valentine's Day rolls around again, and in both the winter of where I live and the winter of my soul I am drawn to the music that has accompanied me through many late nights of otherwise hopeless and life-draining work, tracks that have caressed my being in a way that nothing else can. You know, that good stuff. Though not inherently romantic, these songs bring to my heart the warm familiarity that I imagine comes to lovers when their eyes meet.
Album: Years Past Matter
Sixteen minutes of relentless sonic strife, "IIIIIIIIIIII" remains one of the most frigid tracks to be released from the New York squad, and one of my favorites as well. I hear pride and despair, a terrible ferocity of being, pure distilled malice executed flawlessly and ending in an ominous whisper; the song has ended, but your punishment has not. I have spent many nights working straight through till the morning, and in every one of them, this song has kept me folded in its powerful arms, bringing me solace as only one who knows the pain of fatigue with little chance of end and inescapable failure to reach expectations. As the only metal track to date to bring me to tears, "IIIIIIIIIIII" tops my list.
Song: "Adam's Murmur"
Album: Traced in Air
I need not extol Cynic's musical virtues; this has been done time and time again for all of the band's delightful life. I enjoy this whole album, as it is in its own right a great one, but "Adam's Murmur" really stands out from the crowd. Mesmerizing vocal harmonies evoke images of a less-theistic Gregorian chant group, and excellent instrumentation brings pleasure to the heart of any listener, though no surprise. Cynic bring to me a closeness to some vast being, far larger than my pitiful mind and far more ancient, wise, brooding, and malevolent - and I'm pretty malevolent.
Artist: Béla Fleck and The Flecktones
Album: Ten From Little Worlds
Utter talent combines to make jazzy folk grooves in this rafter-shaking jam. I don't think I need to say much move than that to convince the reader that this is a very romantic track. There is no lack of joy to be found in any note of this track, and it is sure to raise even the lowest of spirits. I like to think that this will be on everyone's Valentine's Day list in spirit, because it embodies all of the best parts of the otherwise commercialized holiday.
In 1979, James Brown said on a song called “Women Are Something Else,” “I guess it is confession time. Now fellas look, we’ve been jivin’. I’m Taurus the Bull; I was born May the third, and I’m real stubborn too. But look here, I love my mate. I got ta have my woman, so I know that I gotta treat her right, because she’s somebody too….Now looka here, let’s get everybody what they should have, because they’re human.” Now I think we’ve made some strides since back then, and I’m not trying to suggest that our task is one as basic as recognition of common humanity. No; but the gesture there in that quote, feeble as it seems now, you know, offers at least a model. Like James Brown, I’m a stubborn dude, except I’m not a Taurus, I’m a Gemini--but it ain’t about me. It ain’t about dudes; the world, to paraphrase another James Brown song, wouldn’t be nothing without women. So fellas, let’s show the ones we love that we love them by giving them a voice and backing up that voice with song. These are some songs that feel like Valentine’s Day for me in that they deepen my appreciation for the women that I love.
Song: “Think (About It)”
Artist: Lyn Collins
Album: Think (About It)
This is another James Brown thing; he wrote and produced this song for Lyn Collins. If it sounds like a J.B.s kind of rhythm, it’s cuz it is. I’m not sure whether the intro to this song was written by Brown or was improvised by Lyn Collins, but it’s a really empowered and amplified and assured voice that we hear that says, “You [men] aren’t doing anything for us! So from now on, we’re gonna use what we got to get what we want.” And the message is to the guys: “Think.” Just listen here to Lyn and then think.
Song: “Do Right Woman, Do Right Man”
Artist: Etta James
Album: Tell Mama
A classic that lays it all out there. This version gets a spirited treatment from Etta James, yelling ‘til her voice aches, while the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section tries to keep up. The song itself, if you’re not familiar with the Aretha or Dionne or Cher versions, proceeds almost like a logic problem: “If you want a do right, all day woman, [then] you gotta be a do right, all night man.” That’s it. So do it. And do it right!
Song: “The Makings of You”
Artist: Glady Knight & The Pips
Gladys Knight renders beautifully this Curtis Mayfield composition. I love Curtis’s too, but this one is so sweet and airy. The image of love here is so idyllic, you know? This song is on the Claudine soundtrack, which came out after Imagination, whose album cover looks a little bit like the heaven this song describes. Imagine, in other words, a love like this one, a great big expression of happiness.
Song: “I Never Loved a Man”
Artist: Aretha Franklin
Album: I Never Loved a Man
Another Muscle Shoals song. Got a lot of good musician dudes backing up these amazing women. Maybe that’s what this mix is about: dudes doing their best to help the women they love. Not that this song is a big political statement, right? It’s a complicated one; Aretha’s man is no good, but she loves him nonetheless. What are we to think? Right around 2:20, when the saxophone and the horns get bigger, maybe she’s putting some of our doubts to rest. Then again, maybe she’s not even talking about a man. However complicated it is, it’s at least a good song.
Song: “Game of Love”
Artist: Ike & Tina Turner
Album: Workin’ Together
And since it’s confession time, I confess that every time I hear Tina go “I’m not tryna play hard to get but I want you to understand / If you want a do right woman you got ta be a do right man,” I get misty. She means it. And it shouldn’t be so damn hard, Ike! You got such a damn good woman who’s been loving you so long she doesn’t wanna stop and you gotta be a fuckin’ jerk! Well, as Tina explains, pretty powerfully, the game can be played by two. In some universe maybe this is a sad song, but I think of it as a pretty badass affirmation of agency. So badass as to make a grown man cry. That’s women.
In recent years, I’ve found myself wondering if I’ll ever be in love, and when Valentine’s Day comes around this feeling, or lack thereof, becomes even more salient. I’m not jealous of about couples exchanging gifts or postin’ up with shawty on the ‘gram, but rather the lack of having someone to share myself with. With this in mind, these are some songs that leave me yearning for someone to love.
Song: “Berceuse a Jussara”
Artist: Baden Powell
Album: Le Monde Musical de Baden Powell
From what I’ve gathered from Google Translate, this song is supposed to be a lullaby, but I think it could very well double as an ode to a lost love. Every time I listen to this song, I picture a warm summer night with a gentle breeze entering through an open window into an empty bedroom. It’s the sound of a love that once was, and whose memory still lingers, ever so faintly, in everything that it touched.
Song: “and i”
Artist: an amiable medley
Album: being alive can be so lonely sometimes but i'm glad to have met you
I think that the feeling of truly missing someone is one of the most powerful demonstrations of love one can experience, and is also one of the most painful. I could’ve selected countless songs about this topic, but an amiable medley delivers one of the simpler, yet poignant tracks on the subject. This is one of my lonely sadboy anthems to listen to buried under the covers in the middle of the afternoon;
“...and I’ll walk you to your car,”
I feel like dying every time.
Album: Dave Drusky
The boys in Capybara may not be saying much of anything on this joint, but man it hits me where it hurts. Every yelp, whoo, and coo in this song thrusts me into a deeper and deeper despair about the lack of love in my life. My last.fm profile says I’ve listened to this song 34 times, but I’ve felt soul crushingly alone at least 40 plays more than that. This blurb has gone on too long already and is filled with too many icky ramblings but I’ll just say that I hope love is real because I don’t how many more times I can get sad listening to this song.
Song: “Teleport 2 Me, Jamie (feat. Desire) ”
WZRD is one of the worst albums I’ve ever heard, an absolute mess of half-baked ideas trying to pass as music. The project’s only saving grace is this song, a super corny & whiny track about missing a girl that’s brilliant in every single way. Half of this song is Kid Cudi saying “na na na na na” and “hey hey”, but for some reason I still want to send the lyrics of this song to every girl in my contacts. If there’s a girl out there who thinks this song is amazing as I do, hmu, I think we might be meant to be.
Song: “Magic Perfume”
Artist: Charlyne Yi
Album: Paper Heart Original Soundtrack
I used to have the biggest crush on Charlyne Yi. I added her on Facebook and followed her on Twitter and watched every video she was in on YouTube, all of this precipitating from seeing her perform “Magic Perfume” in Paper Heart. Charlyne makes falling in love seem so simple and easy, it makes we want to dress head-to-toe in knitwear and profess my love to every girl I’ve ever had feelings for. I melt every time she sings “...’cause I swear to God, you smell just like Christmas to meeeeee.” I want to sing that to Charlyne Yi! I want to sing that to someone! Please sing this song to your significant other on my behalf. Seriously.
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