Blue valentines

Songs to avoid (or wallow in) on Cupid Day.

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Few holidays hurt like Valentine's Day. February 14th proves tough on even the healthiest relationships. The ultimate evening of romantic bliss followed by the hottest sex since Pam and Tommy videotaped each other on that yacht — it doesn't often happen. But I know what you're thinking: A disappointing night spent with a significant other still beats flying solo on V-Day.

Hallmark Cards and all your miserable, married friends will stop at nothing to make you feel like shit about sitting home alone on Cupid's big occasion. Moms aren't much better: "You're spending Valentine's Day by yourself, honey — again?"

Here's a playlist that couples should avoid. Singles, on the other hand, might take comfort in these decidedly unromantic — maybe even downright sadistic — songs. Especially after polishing off that bottle of wine and family-sized bag of cheese puffs.

"Eleanor Rigby," The Beatles
There's nothing like a song about the loneliest woman in the world to lift your spirits. She attends weddings and her own funeral — alone.
Killer Line(s): "Eleanor Rigby died in the church and was buried along with her name/ Nobody came."

"Untouchable Face," Ani DiFranco
The abandoned lover kills time driving around at 2:30 a.m. She listens to the local country station count down the Top 20, probably a bunch of songs dealing with heartache in the most maudlin way. Unwilling to be a victim, the singer issues her vain ex an insult that would warrant a six-figure fine from the FCC. And she does so with infectious glee.
Killer Lines(s): "So fuck you, and your untouchable face/ And fuck you, for existing in the first place."

"It's Over," Roy Orbison
Orbison's distinctively sad warble is the perfect vehicle for this painful realization that a once-vibrant love affair has run its course, thanks to the introduction of another man. Michael Caine, playing a washed-up talent scout, melts down to great dramatic effect while croaking his way through this song in the 1998 film Little Voice.
Killer Line(s): "All the rainbows in the sky/ Start to weep, then say goodbye/ You won't be seeing rainbows any more."

"Ex-Factor," Lauryn Hill
The end has finally come for the guy doing her wrong. Or has it? Though Hill's demand for "reciprocity" is unmet, it still sounds like she might stand by her man.
Killer Line(s): "And when I try to walk away/ You'd hurt yourself to make me stay."

"He Hit Me (It Felt Like a Kiss)," The Crystals
Does pop music get any more disturbing than a girl group singing about the virtues of domestic abuse? Here's a surprise: Phil Spector, close friend of the late Ike Turner and alleged murderer, produced the recording. A guy, Brill Building tunesmith Gerry Goffin, penned the horribly misogynistic lyric. It should also be noted that his former songwriting partner and ex-wife received a co-writing credit. Her name? Carole King.
Killer Line(s): "He hit me, and it felt like a kiss/ He hit me, and I knew he loved me."

"Solitary Man," Neil Diamond
He found Melinda in the arms of Jim and then his love with Sue "died too." In response to consecutive losses, the singer swears off relationships, opting to live like a hermit rather than risk another heartbreak — until he finds a girl to love him "right or wrong." Johnny Cash also recorded a gripping version.
Killer Line(s): "Love's a small word/ Part-time thing/ Paper ring."

"You've Changed," Billie Holiday
Recorded near the end of her pain-ridden life, Holiday recalls with great devastation yet another man who inevitably let her down. Cut in 1958, it still bears Lady Day's tears.
Killer Line(s): "You've forgotten the words 'I love you.'"

"Changed the Locks," Lucinda Williams
No more reconciliations, compromises or accommodations to that brutish lover. This time the makeover will be complete. She's leaving him no possibility of ever getting his boot in her door again. At least that's the plan.
Killer Line(s): "I changed the name of this town so you can't follow me down/ And you can't touch me like before, and you can't make me want you more."

"Stranglehold," Ted Nugent
She cheated? Hooked up with one of his roadies? She humiliated rock's macho wild man by commenting on the size of his penis? Perhaps in public? The song doesn't exactly spell out what crime the woman committed against The Nuge. But he's putting her down — permanently.
Killer Line(s): "I got you in a stranglehold/ I gotta crush your face."

"Love Is a Losing Game," Amy Winehouse
Taking a chance on love doesn't pay off, and the singer's left crushed in the wake of its demise. Her gorgeous voice aches with sorrow, creating an unholy marriage of beauty and despair that's undeniably alluring.
Killer Line(s): "Over futile odds/ And laughed at by the gods/ And now the final frame/ Love is a losing game."

This column hits the streets a week before Valentine's Day. Go to tampacalling.com and help me build a bigger, better and longer playlist, and we can all wallow in it together.

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