What a load of shit. Mass marketing at its finest, right? If you love someone, make them feel special ALL the time, sans rose petals, chocolates or a fancy, overpriced dinner. St Valentine is like the Easter bunny to a lot of people, or the concept of Christian religion: a nebulous, fuzzy set of ill-conceived contradictions. I mean no harm here, of course. If you’re religious, I respect your beliefs absolutely. What sickens me is the cashing in on something once so pure, well meaning and simple.
With this in mind, please enjoy my playlist for the Day For Lovers… Responsibly, of course.
10. Nick and Kylie- Where The Wild Roses Grow
Because nothing says I love you quite like a nice duet about caving in your loved one’s skull. Years ago, Nick Cave said to the NME, “I’d quite like to write a song for Kylie”. We all chuckled, as Cave always had a great sense of humour, and went about our day. A couple of years later in 1996, bugger me if he hadn’t done just that. WhereThe Wild Roses Grow is both pretty and disturbing, falling just the right side of kitsch. It brought Goth to the pop kids; Kylie to the Goths, and now Nick’s like the elder statesman of songwriting and part of the mainstream. Who knew? Kylie just remains… Kylie. You can’t dislike either of them, really.
9. The Fall- I’m Frank
Had to get some Fall in. The lyrics to this nearly made me snort tea up my nose when I first heard it, and that’s going some for MES. Taken from the first post- Brix album Extricate, Smith is clearly taking the piss out of sexy pop lyrics to a satirical rawk riff and a flute (of course, why not?) “Gimme gimme gimme it slowly baby, uhh”, he croons. Ridiculous but fun.
8. Grace Jones- La Vie En Rose 🌹
Jones covering Edith Piaf is genius- her voice soars over rinky dinky instrumentation and it’s rather campy yet strangely beautiful. She still performs it in her set today.
7. Frank Sidebottom-Love Will Tear Us Apart
Who else but Chris Sievey could turn the embittered indie classic by Joy Division into a sunny, end-of-the-pier singalong with his inimitable papier-mache headed nasal cheekiness? But he did. He really did. Thank you.
6. Lydia Lunch and Rowland S Howard- In My Time of Dying
Anything from the 1991 album Shotgun Wedding is worth a shot to be fair, but Lydia Lunch sings like a great alt country singer here to gorgeous, epic instrumentation.
5. Public Image Ltd- This Is Not A Love Song
I much prefer PiL to the Sex Pistols -much more ambitious musically. Here, John Lydon’s snarl seems to anticipate venture capitalism. Great pop music that bares its fangs.
4. Liz Phair-Flower
This will never trouble the daytime airwaves. Pure filth. Taken from Phair’s timeless debut album Exile In Guyville, it’s like a naughty nursery rhyme full of all the things she’d like to do to her paramour. ODB would blush.
3. Iggy Pop-China Girl
Taken from one of the best albums ever (The Idiot) Bowie’s version is better known, but this is better- sleazy, but oddly moving. And it’s not about heroin *wink* – course not…
2. Radiohead- No Surprises
The closest The Radioheads (I still call them that, as it amuses me) ever got to a lullaby, this beautiful song still manages to be pointed and political, while making grown men weep. Perfection. And taking the number one spot..
The tremulous ballad for our times, to soothe a troubled brow. Mulligan and O’Hare remain as fresh as the day they appeared. Timeless. Heartfelt. Romantic. But no less tortured for all of that… Rose is a prickly classic. Beware the thorns.