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Staff Writer | Brita Thompson
This Valentine’s day was the first one I spent single in three years. Instead of having a man pay for a romantic dinner, I worked backstage for the Vagina monologues which raised over six thousand dollars for the v-day campaign this year.
Despite my happiness, the holiday forced me to think about my own singleness and the singleness of others. And so I felt compelled to write an anti-Valentine’s day top ten dedicated to those poor souls living with broken hearts. I consulted the experts at Amoeba Music and Aquarius Records and the sweet guys who answered the phone compiled brief lists of songs that they would recommend for the newly lonely.
At Aquarius I spoke to employee Allan Horrock. He took a brief poll of his fellow employees who recommended the following albums: Death Cab for Cuties’ Transatlanticism, Bon Iver’s For Emma Forever Ago, an album called Autumn to Ashes by emo band Too Bad You’re Beautiful, Devotion by Beach House and finally Marvin Gaye’s Here My Dear.
Over at Amoeba I spoke with a chap by the name of Greg Gardner who recommended the following songs: Bob Dylan’s “Idiot Wind” from Blood on the Tracks, Neil Young’s song “stupid girl” from Zuma, everything ever written by Towns Van Sant, Leonard Cohen and Hank Williams.
Okay. Leonard Cohen, Marvin Gaye and Bob Dylan are the most famous examples of albums written while signing divorce papers. Bon Iver and Death Cab also are more recent examples of very sad music written by the heartbroken. But there was something wrong with the list. I realized that very few of theses songs would actually make me feel better if I listened to them while heart broken. And I realized this is because I am a woman.
When I hear “Stupid Girl” I do not identify with Neil Young, I cannot help but identify with the stupid girl. “Here my Dear” is inextricable from its reputed back-story: that Marvin was forced by the divorce judge to dedicate the album to his ex-wife. Anyways, I wanted to hear heartbreak sung with a more feminine perspective.
And so I decided to create my own little response. Although a male friend told me the other day that man-hating is “more than a little cliché” I proudly present to you:
The Ultimate Cliché Girlpower Mixtape: For post-Valentine’s Day Blues
Track One: Beyonce – “Single Ladies” The reason I love this song is because I misheard it. I heard Beyonce shout out to her ladies: “if you like it, then you shouldn’t put a ring on it”, as in: “If you like being single, don’t get married!” I still prefer my version and try to ignore the music video, which feels like a caffeinated Barbie exercise video.
Karen Dalton – “Katie Cruel” I want Karen Dalton’s vocals to haunt my apartment. The song dates back to the revolutionary war, with possible Irish folk roots, but the lyrics still resonate today to a generation of students forced to read The Scarlet Letter: “When I first came to town, they called me the roving jewel, now they’ve changed their tune, call me Katie Cruel”
The Blow – “Babay (eat a critter feel its wrath)” Not only is this song incredibly catchy, but it is also sung from the point of view of a turd. With lines like: “I thank my lucky stars everyday for indoor plumbing, nobody knows where I’d have ended up without it” and “Out I dropped and here I lay steaming” singer Khaela Maricich verbally turns herself into a metaphor both stomach turning and more than a little bit brilliant.
Alanis Morissette – “You Oughta Know” My eleven-Year-Old self loved this song and my twenty-one year old self still does.
P.J Harvey - When men find out you listen to P.J Harvey, their scrotums tighten ever so slightly in fear.
Bikini Kill – Entire Discography. With songs like “I Don’t Need You” and “Suck My Left One” Bikini Kill is kind of like Black Flag for girls. Perfect for nights spent praying to be turned gay.
Bjork – “Human Behavior”. If you feel like being single is missing out on some weird human mating ritual, don’t worry. Bjork feels the same way. “There is definitely, definitely, definitely no logic to human behavior,” Bjork yodels, making everyone feel more comfortable about feeling awkward.