As Valentine’s Day looms closer, retailers are blanketing the shopping universe with cut-out hearts and chalky sugar treats emblazoned with “Be My Baby,” designed to get us opening our wallets to share romantic, gift-laden evenings with our special someone. Valentine’s Day is the great romantic do-over for those who dropped the ball at Christmas, sending couples scrambling to find the elusive perfect gift for Baby Cakes.
Valentine’s Day gifts can be silly and sentimental, or they can show up as white limo rides with a dozen red roses, a la The Bachelor. Whatever the actual gift might be, a little music can help set the mood. Whether it’s used as background while exchanging coy I-love-you-No-I-love-you-more smiles over dinner for two, or as a dance to “our song,” the music you choose can make or break the evening.
To help you narrow your search, I’m offering a list of what NOT to choose for your special Valentine’s Day playlist. In no particular order of horribleness:
1. Don’t Know Much About History (Sam Cooke). “Don’t know much about history, don’t know much about biology.” Repeat for science, French, geography, trigonometry, algebra, and the ubiquitous slide rule, and you get the idea. “But if I could be with you, what a wonderful world it would be.” Seriously, dude?? You just admitted to being on the wrong side of the Stupid bell curve, and yet somehow you think we’re going to hook up and have a fab life together? Here’s a thought. Get your GED, get a job, and lose my number.
2. Better Dig Two (Band Perry). “I told you on the day we wed, I was gonna love you til I’s dead. If the ties that bind ever do come loose, if ‘forever’ ever ends for you, read me my last rites. And let my stone say, Here lies a girl whose only crutch was loving one man a little too much. If you go before I do, gonna tell the gravedigger he better dig two.” Wow. A hundred years of mothers teaching daughters independence and dignity just got completely obliterated by one song.
3. Marry You (Bruno Mars). “It’s a beautiful night. We’re looking for something dumb to do. Hey Baby, I think I want to marry you. Who cares if we’re trashed, got a pocket full of cash. If we wake up and you wanna break up, that’s cool. It was fun, girl.” Worst proposal ever. And who needs a pre-nup when you’ve got a 24-hr annulment clause in your back pocket?
4. Into the Night (Benny Mardones). “She’s just 16 years old…” That also makes her illegal in pretty much all 50 states. Go find a grown-up, Bens.
5. Ticks (Brad Paisley). “You press that bottle to your lips, and I wish I was your beer. The only thing allowed to crawl over you is me. You know every guy here would like to take you home, but I’ve got more class than that. I’d like to check you for ticks.” Everything people don’t like about country music, all in one song. Go Brad.
6. You Lie (The Band Perry). “You lie like a priceless Persian rug on a rich man’s floor. You lie like a coon dog basked in the sunshine on my porch. You lie like a penny in the parking lot.” What do these even mean?? Possibly the worst analogies in song-writing history.
7. Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad (Meat Loaf). “I want you, I need you, but there ain’t no way I’m ever gonna love you. Now don’t be sad, cuz two out of three ain’t bad” followed by an entire verse lamenting the one that got away, but who he never got over. Well, gee, Mr. Loaf. While I appreciate your only slightly arrogant offer, and the assumption that I’d be grateful for 2/3 of your awesomeness, I think I’d rather date your ex-girlfriend.
8. Having My Baby (Paul Anka). “Having my baby, what a lovely way of saying how much you love me.” Yeah, because this really is all about you, Paul. Then it gets tacky, “Didn’t have to keep it. You could’ve swept it from your life but you wouldn’t do it.” Show of hands to anyone who doesn’t know what Pauly is referring to. How much bad taste can one song encompass?
9. Every Breath You Take (Sting). “Every breath you take, every move you make, every bond you break“…(insert more of the same)…”I’ll be watching you.” Then you’ll be watching me take out a restraining order on your stalker ass.
10. Why Don’t We Get Drunk (Jimmy Buffett). Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy. What happened?? “I just bought a water bed. It’s filled up for me and you. Yeah, now baby, why don’t we get drunk and screw?” I’m trying to imagine the target that this line would work on, and I can only assume she’s a wide-eyed band groupie who thinks “banging” is a proper synonym for sex. Leave the 20-somethings alone, Jimmy, and have another margarita.
11. You Remind Me of Something (R Kelly). And just when you thought all the bad lyrics were taken. “You remind me of my jeep, I wanna ride it. Something like my sound, I wanna pump it. You look just like my cars, I wanna wax it. And something like my bank account, I wanna spend it.” So you’re saying you want to ride me, pump me, wax me, and spend me. Uh, okay. Should I shave my legs first?
And my all-time favorite…
12. This Girl is a Woman Now (Gary Puckett). “This girl walked in dreams… This girl was a child… Then one night her world was changed” (insert sex with Mr. Puckett) “and she will never be the same again. This girl is a woman now. She’s found out what it’s all about, and she’s learning to live.” Well, Mr. Puckett, those must be some damn fine lovemaking skills you’ve got. You took a girl and made a woman out of her. I’ll bet her Daddy is just tickled pink. He was just spotted reloading at the local gun shop. You might want to move along now to a different house. Or a different state.
Happy Valentine’s Day. Now let’s cuddle up and have a slow dance.