Ah, that time of year when Valentine's Day happens... which, even for those of us who are married, sometimes is mostly exciting because it's almost time for cheap candy, whoo! Also, it's that time of year when I release my annual anti-love mix (previous editions here, here, and here), partly because there are so many great anti-love songs and partly as an ongoing tribute to my 15-year-old self who would compile these and listen to them for hours on end angsting her heart it. For anyone else who needs to angst a bit, may this mix take you on a journey of emotions and leave you feeling a little better. And for people who just like new music, there's that too.
Download link available at the bottom of the page.
1. Touching My Hand (Jason "SweetTooth" Williams and Lauren Marcus)
One of the many new discoveries from musical theater composer Joe Iconis. It's a live version, which I don't usually like to open my mixes with, but I also like to start with a cheerful and somewhat naive love song, and this is definitely that. It's very, very high school and very, very amusing to me.
2. Fight For Me (Heathers the Musical)
Well, I've written SO MANY BLOGS about Heathers in the past six months, but if you haven't taken all that prompting and actually listened to it, here's a quote from past blogs: "This is Veronica's first encounter with J.D., when he gets into a fist fight with one of the jerk jocks at school... and she's kind of into that and sings a whole song about it. This was also the first song from the musical I really fell in love with. It's such an unusual love song, and I think that's what really draws me to it."
3. Change of Heart (Love's Labour's Lost)
I really worked very, very hard to not just fill this entire list with songs from Love's Labour's Lost, since, well, there are a lot of love songs in it. I do have a few, though, beginning with this song, an "I swore to myself I wasn't going to fall in love" song. Sometimes it just happens, and all those lame cliches you laughed at before are... kind of a thing for you now. There's an entertaining little battle in this song between his annoyance at having fallen in love and his attitude of "What the hey, I'll just embrace these feelings."
4. Stop Your Heart (Love's Labour's Lost)
Another song from the show about falling in love against your better judgment, though this one is less caught up in the joy and more frustrated with the pitfalls that come along with love.
5. Somebody to You (The Vamps)
The first one on the list that's overtly about loving someone who doesn't love you back, though this one is still a pretty cheerful ones -- the depressing ones will come along in a bit. This song, like the last couple (have I found an unintentional theme?), deals with the idea of never thinking you were going to fall in love, only to find everything a little upside down once you do.
6. The Shadow in the Door (Bruce Robbins)
This song ended up being one of my favorites of the year. It's really cheesy, but this mix is nothing if not cheesy, so here's a song about what happens when past relationships move on with their lives and find someone else.
7. I Push Up My Glasses (Barrett Wilbert Weed)
A live concert song that I discovered this year while searching for random Barrett Wilbert Weed videos. It's an unrequited love song from a shy nerdy girl to a girl she works with, and it's so very, very reminiscent of the URLSCDs -- a perfect balance of hopeful and despairing.
8. Lisa (Katrina Rose Dideriksen)
I didn't mean to put both lesbian love songs together, but this is where the transition fell between "unrequited love song" and "dysfunctional relationship song." There's a guy version of this song too, but I prefer the performance in this one. While the Lisa being sung about clearly likes the main singer, the singer's crippling self-loathing and anxiety turns what could be a very sweet love song into a dark, unhappy song with lyrics like "I know if I were her, I'd hate me."
9. Lying There (Annie Simpson)
I couldn't tell you where I got this song came from, but this song just makes me so very sad. It's about someone in a relationship realizing that she may never be truly happy in her relationship. The song vacillates between proclaiming all the things she does love about him and confessing that she can't make herself love him as much as she feels like she's supposed to.
10. Shades of Cool (Lana del Rey)
I'm can't tell you exactly what's going on in this song -- there are plenty of theories, everything from mental illness to drug abuse -- but it's clear that this is about a relationship with plenty of distance and darkness surrounding it. It's incredibly melancholy and more than deserves its place on this list.
11. Barf Bag Breakup (Barrett Wilbert Weed)
A quiet, sad little breakup song that I discovered at the same time I discovered I Push Up My Glasses. There's something about the song's simplicity that really speaks to me.
12. Kindergarten Boyfriend (Heathers the Musical)
This is maybe THE anti-love song of the year. It's another song I've written multiple blogs about, so to steal from one of them: "Back when I was an especially emo high schooler who collected unrequited love showtunes and 'no one will ever love me' songs, I would have been all over this song. Even though I am less emo these days, I still empathize very, very strongly with this character, one of the unpopular kids who has been picked on for years and years and years."
Listening to it again as I put together these write-ups... and this lyric gets me every time: "Certain boys are just for kindergarten, certain girls are meant to be alone."
13. Love's a Gun (Love's Labour's Lost)
A dark-sounding song about how depressing and unpredictable love can be in general. This one isn't my favorite from the show, but it definitely grows on me the more I listen to it.
14. It All Fades Away (The Bridges of Madison County)
I haven't yet fallen in love with this cast recording, though it's Jason Robert Brown, so I'm sure it's just a matter of time... but in the meantime, here's this song I do love. This song is sung toward the end of the show, as the main character reminisces about the woman he loved and lost. At first glance, it's a more hopeful song than I sometimes include at this point in the mix, but I don't think it's about hope so much as... wistfulness.
15. You Haven't Seen the Last of Me (Burlesque)
I wrote about this a bit in my Best Songs of 2014 blog post, but it's definitely worthy of mentioning here. Maybe my favorite part of all the anti-love mixes and URLSCDs are the songs that have the message of "I'm going to be better, I'm going to power through this." Those always hit me hard in any kind of situation where I'm feeling sad or overwhelmed, and they remind me I'm gonna be OK.
16. Since We Broke Up (Bowling for Soup)
I'm finally getting around to listening to Bowling for Soup's last album, and I'm glad I am, as I discovered this time just in time to include it on the list. In very BFS style, it's a cheerful song about how awesome life is after breaking up with someone. It's like a snarkier "Since U Been Gone."
17. Dear Future Husband (Meghan Trainor)
All right, I do have some problems with this song -- never a fan of women treating physical affection as a reward for good behavior from their significant others, and agreeing that I'll buy someone groceries if they give me flowers on our anniversary seems like a very strange deal. But it's awfully cheerful, and I'm always in favor of "yeah, you're not gonna treat me like crap" songs. So it gets to be on here. But it doesn't get to close out this collection. That honor goes to...
18. You Can't Hurry Love (Phil Collins)
I've known this song forever, but for some reason I hadn't owned it until this year. But it seems like pretty much the perfect way to end the mix.
Download the full mix here... and Happy February.