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An anti-Valentine’s Day playlist

Compiled by Taylor Coe


Feeling angsty about Valentine’s Day? The OUP staff is here to help! We have pulled together a wide-ranging list of “anti-Valentine’s Day” music – exactly opposite the treacly, mincing pop that you may encounter otherwise on this most-exclusive of holidays.

“I Hate Everything About You” – Three Days Grace
“Got relationship rage? This song has you covered. While I am now happily married, I still love this wonderfully angry song. Also, it brings me back to being an emo kid in middle school.”
Christie Loew, Assistant Marketing Manager

“Everything I Once Had” – The Honorary Title
“I tend to err on the side of ‘really sad’ for anti-Valentine’s Day songs. ‘Everything I Once Had,’ by the now-defunct and super-sad band The Honorary Title, is made up of 100% clichés, but it’s pretty great to indulge in when you’re alone on Valentine’s Day: ‘February, Valentine’s Day / Did my best to avoid the red clichés / So you dumped me on the subway / On my way to work at 9 in the morning.’”
Lauren Hill, Publicity Assistant

“Goodbye to Love” – The Carpenters
“In the 90s I shared an apartment with a gay couple, Ken & Didier, I affectionately called ‘The French’ in Hoboken, NJ. These boys had strange tastes. They mixed their red wine with Pepsi and played my Carpenters Gold CD often, a band I knew well from my father’s 8-track collection from the 60s & 70s. While I’ve had my share of lovers, I’ve never really been lucky at sustaining love. I’m not looking for sympathy, I don’t hate love and I don’t think an “anti-Valentine” song needs to be sad or angry. In sharp contrast to most love gone bad songs, The Carpenters’ ‘Goodbye to Love’ is a joyful resignation that resonates with my realization that love is not mine and so I say, ‘Goodbye.’”
Christian Purdy, Director of Publicity

“My Love Is Real” – Divine Fits
“’My love is real/Until it stops.’ Bleak stuff. But man, those synths. Divine Fits draw a lot on gothic minimalist pop from the ‘80s – think ‘Tainted Love.’”
Owen Keiter, Associate Publicist

“All My Ex’s Live in Texas” – George Strait
“I’m going to with George Strait’s ‘All My Ex’s Live in Texas’. This poor singer has a long, dramatic, wonderful history of Valentine’s Days gone terribly wrong.”
Norm Hirschy, Music Editor

“Creep” – Radiohead
“Nothing to me screams anti-Valentine’s Day more than a guy pining for a girl who wants nothing to do with him since, according to himself, he’s a big weirdo and just not that special. I think we can all relate to a Valentine’s day or two being single, feeling like an outcast from all the happy couples in society. Now, as a married person, I use the holiday as a good excuse to obtain free chocolate while continuing to be a weirdo.”
Penny Freedman, Marketing Coordinator

“Wannabe” – The Spice Girls
“If there was any push towards romantic independence in my adolescence it was definitely this song. There’s nothing like five women ranting about standards and demands that inspires a type of self-worth you didn’t know you had. I hope everyone can spend Valentine’s day with  the people who inspire that same sort of feeling.”
Sarah Hansen, Publicity Assistant

“When Did You Stop Loving Me, When Did I Stop Loving You” – Marvin Gaye
“With this song off his 1978 album Here, My Dear, Gaye captures the questions, notions, and emotions that come from lost love. Although it has moments of high romance, avoid playing this record for your beloved on the 14th.”
Stuart Roberts, Editorial Assistant

“Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima” – Krysztof Penderecki
“This is a piece of music that many people know because it was excerpted in the soundtrack for The Shining – not exactly your standard Valentine’s Day fare (neither is Hiroshima, for that matter). For best results, check out the YouTube video that matches the music with an episode of the Care Bears, commercials for Bratz dolls included.”
Lisbeth Redfield, Assistant Editor

“Best Thing I Never Had” – Beyoncé
“Beyoncé can rock a sassy break-up song like no other. I’m pretty sure this song has inspired many broken-hearted girls to sing angrily into their hairbrush microphones. No? Just me then.”
Annie Leyman, Assistant Product Manager, ELT

“Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right” – Bob Dylan
“This is the perfect anti-Valentine’s Day song because it’s sarcastic and spiteful, but still smart and heartfelt. Plus, “You just kinda wasted my precious time” is the perfect disdainful insult.”
Erin Ganley, Senior Marketing Manager

“Feb 14” – Drive-By Truckers
“It might not get any more apt than Patterson Hood’s put-down of the Hallmark holiday, especially with an opening like ‘Flowers flying cross the room / Vases smashed against the floor / Said, ‘I’d rather be alone / Take your chocolates and go home.””
Taylor Coe, Marketing Assistant

“Love Song” – Sara Bareilles
“I think this song speaks to what is least romantic about Valentine’s Day: it is by definition predictable, and celebrates love as performance and social conformity over love as inspiration.”
Anna Hernandez-French, Assistant Editor, Journals

“Comes and Goes (In Waves)” – Greg Laswell
“My pick is ‘Comes and Goes (In Waves)’ by one of my favorite singer-songwriters, Greg Laswell. It’s perfect for those that are sad on Valentine’s Day and want to wallow in it.”
Alyssa Bender, Marketing Associate

You’re So Vain – Carly Simon
“Kind of speaks for itself.”
Kate Pais, Online Marketing Coordinator

Taylor Coe is a Marketing Assistant at Oxford University Press.

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