Love Stinks

A warm, fuzzy roundup of depressing anti-Valentine's Day anthems

"Nothing Came Out," the Moldy Peaches.Here we have an unrequited-love song as sung by the characters in Ghost World, filled with talk of comic books and cartoons and the riding of bikes. "Without 40 ounces of social skills, I'm just an ass in the crack of humanity/ I'm just a huge manatee," sings Kimya Dawson. Whether she ever got the boy, the song is proof that Dawson, a self-confessed "Thundercats ho," is way cooler than he is anyway.

"So Lonely," the Police. Once again, I'm not entirely sure what this one's about. Depending on when you ask, I'll either say that it concerns a dude who falls in love with everyone he meets or a dude who can't fall in love at all. Either way, I imagine said dude belting out the chorus -- "So lonely/ So lonely" -- in his boxers, alone, surrounded by empty beer cans and pizza boxes. When that chorus modulates up a step after the second verse, it's as if the dude just pounded a Red Bull and cranked the volume. He may be lonely, but tonight he's going to celebrate, not brood.

"Brand New Love," Sebadoh. From high school through college and all the way up to this moment, "Brand New Love" has served me well. Jarringly lo-fi and built around a distorted, thrumming chorus, the song is like a pill that turns you back into an adolescent, to the time when you actually believed in lines like this: "Follow what you feel/ You alone decide what's real/ Anyone can be a brand new love."

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