Well, here we are again. Has it really been a year already? Oh how the last V-Day now seems like a jolly good frolic compared to what the world is like at the moment. Sure, your significant other didn't want to do that weird sex thing you like but at least 100,000 of your fellow countryfolk weren't dead or dying of that Heineken Virus doing the rounds. Hell, at least on last year's Valentine's Day you could actually go out and eat at a restaurant and if someone near you coughed it was fine, everything was fine. Hahahahaha remember when everything was fine and somebody coughing near you was a thing that happened without you getting paranoid hahahahakillmehahahaha.
Anyway, last year I created an anti-Valentine's Day digital mixtape on Mixcloud for all the bitter cynics out there. It was imaginatively titled The Anti-Valentine's Day Mix For The Bitterly Cynical and was accompanied with a blog - not too dissimilar to this one actually - explaining my disdain for the "holiday" and my reasons for the choices of songs on the mix. In fact, you can listen to the mix by clicking on the picture of the dead flowers below. There's even a handy link for the blog on the Mixcloud page too.
What songs can I listen to this Valentine's Day if I'm single or simply bitter?
So, what about this year?
A lot has happened in the last twelve months, and lockdown has given me a lot of time to think (some would say too much time to think, if you can call plotting to overthrow the Maldives armed with nothing but a butter knife and a copy of The Best Of Chicago on CD "thinking"). It's easy being cynical at the best of times but bloody hell, if there's a time to try and find something positive & wonderful to cling on to then surely the time is now.
You see, the thing is we all need to feel safe & secure with people we love romantically. A tunnel of love, if you will, a place where you and your significant other(s) can cling on to each-other and become enveloped in its dark red embrace, secure and detached from the world outside, and gently travel deep inside towards the unknown, together. Part of the Human Condition for most people is the need for companionship, the biological impulse to breed becoming entangled with the spiritual longing for intimacy with another. Y'know, love.
It's a fucking nightmare.
And I could go on about loneliness, and how this time of year is an utter cunt-bollock for so many, and how corporations take advantage of your feelings for another by making you spend loads of money you don't actually have on shit that doesn't really mean anything. But I've already done that, remember? So this year I thought I'd mix it up a bit. This year I thought I would be nice (or at least nicer). This year I created my very own Tunnel of Love, and I am inviting you all to enter it. Yes, you: GET IN MY TUNNEL OF LOVE.
"But what is this tunnel of love exactly?" I somehow hear you ask. "Is it something weird? Will I need a shower afterwards?" Well, depending on your disposition, you may be glad to hear that it's actually another digital mixtape, created specifically for the Ship to Shore Mixcloud channel WSTS Picaroon Platters Radio. And as it's for Valentine's Day, the 'mix consists of forty one songs about love: love for another. Love for food. Love for money. Love for sex. Love for love itself. Lost love. Found love. Happy love. Sad love.
And also three love songs about Satan.
Cheese: delicious but sadly not very well represented in the love song genre.
You can listen to the mix right here or you can use the handy widget located below. It is, as always, free to stream. But what about the songs? What are they? What do they mean? Why are they on this mix? What is love anyway? Does anybody love anybody anyway? Is there something wrong with me if I know that two of those questions form part of the lyrics to a Howard Jones song? All these questions, and more, will be answered if you read on and enter... my Tunnel Of Love.
Tunnel Of Love
WSTS Picaroon Platters Radio
Donna Summer - "I Feel Love"
Donna Summer feels love and just won't stop singing about it, but with production duties by Giorgio Moroder himself and featuring the "futuristic sound" of the Moog synthesiser, it's not so surprising really. This is generally considered to be one of the most influential songs ever recorded but as far as the lyrics are concerned it's ultimately about a woman who's in love and feels good about it.
Depeche Mode - "A Question Of Lust"
A song about not destroying your love for another by cheating on them purely for the sake of lust. Martin Gore wrote this to stop his jealous girlfriend attacking him with a knife or something. I made that last part up.
Howard Jones - "What Is Love?"
Not to be dismissed as an important Thinker of his generation, Howard Jones asked all the pertinent questions in this, his magnum opus: "what is love? Does anybody love anybody anyway?" And his answer? "Nobody can love this much, nobody can." And that was the end of that conundrum.
Peter Cetera - "Glory Of Love (Theme From The Karate Kid Part II - Extended Version)"
"I am a man who will fight for you honour..." is just another way of saying "I will kick someone in the face for you." And what's more romantic than that?
The Stranglers - "Golden Brown"
Who said love songs just had to be about romantic love? Certainly not The Stranglers, who wrote this love song about opium instead.
Björn & Benny, Agnetha & Anni-Frid (aka ABBA) - "People Need Love"
Before they changed their name to ABBA and completely ruined cinema by allowing Mama Mia to happen, our young Swedish foursome had a modest hit with this upbeat pop song about how love is a necessity in everyday life. This is the only song on this list which has yodelling in it (#spoilers).
Edison Lighthouse - "Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes)"
Is it a song about a man who has murdered his wife and buried her in his herb garden? No, unfortunately.
Kelly Marie - "It Feels Like I'm In Love"
Kelly Marie's little hit single - complete with "Eyes Wide Shut but set in the late 70's" record cover as seen here - goes through the more positive symptoms of being in love, and leaves out the nausea & dread. It's a disco love anthem which should be played at every party when everyone's nice and buzzed.
Wham! - "Love Machine"
Wham! Love Machine. Yes, that's all I'm going to put. It's all I need to put.
Andy Lewis featuring Keni Burke - "(Love Is) Alive In My Heart"
"Something's started to grow, and my feeling's started to show." I think this might be about a guy who, after years of erectile disfunction, has finally got his hands on some viagra and is now looking forward to getting home to his significant other, but it probably isn't about that.
Bon Jovi - "You Give Love A Bad Name"
Love isn't always rainbows and flowers and ponies and treacle. Sometimes it goes wrong, sometimes you fall in love with the wrong person. Sometimes it damages you. Sometimes you love someone who gives love a bad name, like Tarquin, Barnaby, Xanadu or Jemima. There are better names, FFS.
Belinda Carlisle - "Heaven Is A Place On Earth"
Awww. She loved someone so much that she created an angelic realm on our mortal plane of existence. It sounds like the opening episode of a new series of Supernatural (RIP) but it's just a pop song, thank god. I didn't want to see Dean Winchester shoot Belinda Carlisle in the face.
Latin Playboys - "Forever Night Shade Mary"
Gentle floaty dream-like love song about falling in love with a gentle floaty dreamer. Lovely.
Elvis Presley & The Jordanaires - "Can't Help Falling In Love"
Deicide - "Homage For Satan"
Good ol' Glen Benton. He really loves that Satan fella, so much so that this song is a homage to him, hence the clever title. Arguably one of the best death metal tracks ever.
Giorgio Moroder with Philip Oakey - "Together In Electric Dreams"
Back in the 80's, some people would fall in love with their computer. Hence the terms "hard drive," "floppy disc" and "ram memory." Thankfully internet porn was invented and it quickly stopped the spread of this unhealthy habit, confining it mostly to "gamers" who like to "overclock" their "PCs."
Double Mixte - "Romance Noire"
"Romance noire" is French for "dripping baguette," which perfectly sums up the visuals the song evokes. "I don't want any garlic butter," the sultry temptress croons. "Your dripping baguette is enough." You'd understand the lyrics if you spoke fluent Français like I do. Boules massives.
DMX Krew - "Come To Me"
Prolific keyboard humper DMX Krew (aka Edward Upton) releases so many albums, EPs and singles each year that it's almost impossible to keep up, but this is certainly one album you don't want to let slip you by. He loves some cheesy 80's inspired electronica songs and this album - and this song - is probably one of his best.
Kylie Minogue - "Can't Get Blue Monday Out Of My Head"
Back in 2001, Kylie Minogue had a huge hit with "Can't Get You Out Of My Head," a pop single which - with the help of a rather saucy music video - was almost impossible to ignore at the time. When asked to perform it live at the BRIT Awards in early 2002, she figured it would be fun to do something a little different, and with the help of producer Kurtis Rush, she did just that. Mashing her dance hit with the beat & partial melody from New Order's seminal Blue Monday, this absolute crowd-pleaser was born. The performance went down very well and white label promos were quickly created and given away to DJs & radio stations. Who thought a catchy ditty about a woman having the constant horn mixed with a song about depression, toxic relationships and suicide would work so well?
Cola Boy - "7 Ways To Love"
"7 Ways To Love" is a 90s dance hit which goes through all the different ways you can enjoy physical love, just like the popular pop-up book "The Kama Sutra" upon which it is based:
1. You On Top
2. Them On Top
3. Lights On
5. It Looks Like It Will Be Nice But You Will Most Likely Get Cramp
6. Okay But Only Because It's Your Birthday
7. The Haughty Colonel
Dub War - "Million Dollar Love"
Boy loves girl. Girl loves money more. Boy writes reggae metal song.
Paul Williams - "I Know You"
Well, thank god for that. It can't be healthy falling in love with someone you don't know. Look how that turned out for Romeo & Juliet.
Shakespears Sister - "Stay"
A song about being in love with someone who's feeling suicidal (yes, really). Sung from the point of view of both the lover (who's trying to convince her significant other to "stay") and Death itself, who warns the depressed S.O. that there's no going back if they go through with it. It's actually genius.
Alex Puddu - "Horny At The Office"
Dont lie. It's happened to you too.
Donny Benet - "Second Dinner"
A nu-disco crowd-pleaser about a guy who just loves his food, more than anything else. If you're unfamiliar with Australian electro king Donny Benet, it's time to rectify that.
Change - "The Glow Of Love"
Ever walked into your parent's bedroom and they were acting weird, like you interrupted them doing something, and you noticed they had flushed faces? That's the glow of love.
Saint Etienne - "Only Love Can Break Your Heart"
Saint Etienne's cover of Neil Young's original is a pertinent reminder that love can end in disaster... so be sure of yourself before committing 100%. And also look out for any friends who might be making the same mistake. Or something.
Twin Temple - "Lucifer, My Love"
Lucifer is a much better kisser than Jesus, and if that isn't enough reason to love him then I don't know what is. Strangely enough, this might be one of the most romantic songs on this list.
Annabel (lee) - "Could It Be The Siren Loves?"
Those beautiful-on-the-outside-but-rotten-on-the-inside temptresses of the sea have been known by many different names over the years: Sirens, Mermaids, Kardashians. But as evil as they are, could it be that oh sod it, you read the song title, you already know where I'm going with this.
Type O Negative - "Love You To Death"
A love song about obsession to the point of destruction, composed & performed in a way that only Type O Negative could do. It's one of their best songs, from arguably their best album (October Rust), and it should be heard by everyone.
Electric Chairs - "Barbie Girl (Flowing Mix)"
Unique cover of Aqua's unfortunate hit Barbie Girl. Is it about a guy who's in love with his sex doll? Yeah why not.
Cherry Ghost - "Thirst For Romance"
Old person gets all nostalgic and remembers their youthful energy and romantic entanglements, and melancholy takes over as they realise that while the spirit is willing, the flesh is now too weak. We all have this to look forward to when we get old. Enjoy!
A Perfect Circle - "The Nurse Who Loved Me"
Crazy person in a mental institution thinks the nurse who treats him actually does it out of love for the patient. Sad, poetic, beautiful.
Tiny Tim - "I'm Looking For A Sweetheart (And I Think You'll Do)"
Sometimes just saying "I think you'll do" is enough.
Emperor - "Inno A Satana"
Black metal classic from the Norwegian band Emperor. "Inno A Satana" is another love song for that devilish angel, Lucifer, who's proving to be quite the popular man-about-town.
The Damned - "Love Song"
Nobody does pop-like punk as well as The Damned, and this catchy love song epitomises their long-term appeal.
Dolly Parton - "Jolene"
What do you do when the man you love loves another? You beg them to leave your man alone by singing them a song about begging them to leave your man alone. Genius. The male, up-to-date equivalent of this would be calling the song Johnson and singing it to The Rock, because your significant other talks about him in their sleep. "Johnson, Johnson, Johnson, Joh-ohnson. I'm begging you please don't take my (wo)man..." Not sure that Dwayne has "flaming locks of auburn hair" though.
Vangelis - "One More Kiss, Dear"
I think people always forget about this song when they talk about the Blade Runner soundtrack, and that's a real shame. It evokes the feel of the 1930s, brilliantly intertwining it with its noir tropes, forgoing the rest of the album's electronic sound with great effect.
The Kinks - "Lola"
A different kind of love is being sung about here, and that's okay. Along with it being one of the best songs ever, it's also surprisingly non-judgemental - quite the feat for a 1970s cut - and do I even detect a pang of regret in the lyrics that he didn't stay with her? SPOILERS: she has a dick.
Dieter Meier - "Loveblind"
A deep, smoky cut about the foolish things love can make you do. Sure love can be great and lifts us up on mountains high and all that shit, but it can also make us forget about other important people in our lives. It can make us do things that we shouldn't be doing. And it can make us act like a right donkey twat.
Dire Straits - "Tunnel Of Love"
Well, if this one doesn't pull your heartstrings then I'm afraid there's no hope for you at all. A song about fleeting love, based on Mark Knopfler's real-life encounter with a beautiful girl he met at a funfair when he was in his mid-teens. They spent the night together, riding the rides, having fun, and never saw each-other again. As she left she gave him her locket to remember her by - which he kept - and he still thinks about her to this day. A reminder, if one is needed by now, that love can go just as easily as it can arrive, and you should never take it for granted. Many Dire Straits fans consider this their best song and it's easy to see why.
You can listen to the 166 minute mix - featuring all the songs above - right here or via the Mixcloud widget below. I truly hope you enjoy it, just as I truly hope you enjoy Valentine's Day whether you are on your own or sharing it with someone special (or with multiple someones special, I don't judge). For all its commercialism, it's nice to be reminded now and again that love exists and can actually make people happy given half the chance. And c'mon, who doesn't love Satan?
- Mark Anthony Finch