Return of the Anti-Valentine’s Day Playlist

With twice as much gory lyrics and depression as last year!

It’s that time of year again. Heart shapes decorate every window while our sympathetic friends point out that we will surely have a date next year. You can’t even turn the radio on without some DJ advising you it isn’t too late to order flowers, teddy bears, or chocolate-covered everythings!

For some, this holiday is a romantic occasion in which they and a special someone exchange sweet little mementos of their love. To others, Valentine’s Day is an annoying, depressing drag that makes you want to stay in bed with the covers pulled up over your head for the next 24 hours. Yes, single people loathe Valentine’s Day, but at least we can funnel that hatred into creating awesomely twisted mixtapes.

The following songs celebrate Anti-Valentine’s Day in many ways, featuring songs that are darkly depressing despite their romantic title, ballads about loneliness, morbid songs featuring the deaths of terrible ex-lovers, and even tunes designed to make you feel better about being single. From genres ranging from classic rock to pop, and even a little bit of country, there’s a little something for everybody who will be celebrating Anti-Valentine’s Day this year. And by all means, if you can think of a song to add to the list, comment below!

Elvis Presley - “Heartbreak Hotel”

We might as well start with the granddaddy of depressing blues/rock songs about loneliness. True story: songwriter Tommy Durden was inspired to write this after a newspaper quoted “I walk a lonely street” from a local man’s suicide note.

INXS - “Kiss the Dirt (Falling Down The Mountain)”

Some believe this song is about mountain climbing, but it is also possible to see it as a metaphor for romance gone wrong. How many people feel like they just tumbled off a cliff and got a face full of dirt after being dumped, for instance?

Drake Bell - “Somehow”

There are many songs in which a wronged woman takes revenge on the jerk husband who let her down, but how many were written and performed by a Nickelodeon star? Teen idol Drake Bell brought us this morbid yet tuneful ballad about a battered wife who kills her husband, smokes a cigarette, and then throws his body into the lake at night. Not surprisingly, he never performed it on the TV-Y rated TV show he co-starred in, but he would later go on to release an album that loosely qualifies as a concept album about a cheating couple.

Sam Cooke - “Another Saturday Night”

V-Day doesn’t fall on a Saturday this year, but loving couples will be out in full force this week, so be warned. Let’s nominate this as the unofficial theme song for the dating scene.

Nazareth - “Love Hurts”

For the next couple of minutes, you can throw yourself a 1970’s-era pity party. Various movies and TV shows often use this song to express heartbreak in a comedic way, but this can be as serious (or as silly) as you would like it to be.

Jaron and the Long Road to Love - “Pray for You”

Don’t sing this one in church. This country hit finds a man praying up some creative revenge scenarios for the woman who wronged him. These also work as good insults for people, as in “I pray a flower pot falls from a window sill and knocks you in the head like I’d like to”.

Train - “50 Ways to Say Goodbye”

Also from the same category of songs that creatively describe horrible things, is a ditty in which revenge death fantasies double as excuses the singer gives for why his girlfriend isn’t with him. You have to give him credit for saying she “got run over by a crappy purple Scion”. As if there is any other type of Scion.

The Eagles - “Heartache Tonight”

If you can’t be consoled by songs that describe how you feel or if you can’t take any morbid pleasure in the darkly depressing stuff, then you can always rock your blues away. There’s this hand-clapping original version, or you can seek out Michael Buble’s cover for a sophisticated type of big band cool.

The Beatles - “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band/ With a Little Help From My Friends”

You might argue that this song doesn’t belong on an Anti-Valentine’s Day playlist. Have you ever really thought about all the lyrics, though? They ARE a “lonely hearts club” and the announcer does want to take the whole audience home with him. Not to mention, the second half: in which Billy Shears needs and wants somebody to love.

The Cars - “Bye Bye Love”

Sure, the lyrics are vaguely romantic and the song does describe someone letting his unrequited love go, but the words are the last thing anybody notices about a Cars song. Just turn it up and rock out, 1980’s New Wave style.

Jonas Brothers - “One Man Show” or Destiny’s Child “Independent Woman Pt. 1”

Depending upon your gender, here are two ways to celebrate being single. If it’s Valentine’s Day and you don’t have a date, who cares? You “don’t need no one”, you’re a “One Man Show”, or perhaps as an “Independent Woman”, you’re going to spend your day buying stuff and doing Charlie’s Angels impressions.

The Clovers - “Love Potion #9”

If you can’t be in love: make fun out of it. In our final selection, one unlucky man visits a gypsy who slips him a mickey. Too bad there wasn’t a female cop on 34th and Vine. Another useless fact: the original version had the final line, “I wonder what happens with Love Potion #10”.





Political Cartoonist Art Young Was an Aficionado of all Things Infernal

Fantagraphics' new edition of Inferno takes Art Young's original Depression-era critique to the Trump Whitehouse -- and then drags it all to Hell.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

OK Go's Emotional New Ballad, "All Together Now", Inspired by Singer's Bout with COVID-19

Damian Kulash, lead singer for OK Go discusses his recent bout with COVID-19, how it impacted his family, and the band's latest pop delight, "All Together Now", as part of our Love in the Time of Coronavirus series.


The Rules Don't Apply to These Nonconformist Novelists

Ian Haydn Smith's succinct biographies in Cult Writers: 50 Nonconformist Novelists You Need to Know entice even seasoned bibliophiles.


Siren Songs' Meredith Kaye Clark and Jenn Grinels Debut As a Folk Duo (album stream + interview)

Best friends and longtime musical collaborators Meredith Kaye Clark and Jenn Grinels team up as Siren Songs for the uplifting folk of their eponymous LP.


Buzzcocks' 1993 Comeback 'Trade Test Transmissions' Showed Punk's Great Survivors' Consistency

PopMatters' appraisal of Buzzcocks continues with the band's proper comeback LP, Trade Test Transmissions, now reissued on Cherry Red Records' new box-set, Sell You Everything.


Archie Shepp, Raw Poetic, and Damu the Fudgemunk Enlighten and Enliven with 'Ocean Bridges'

Ocean Bridges is proof that genre crossovers can sound organic, and that the term "crossover" doesn't have to come loaded with gimmicky connotations. Maybe we're headed for a world in which genres are so fluid that the term is dropped altogether from the cultural lexicon.


Claude McKay's 'Romance in Marseille' Is Ahead of Its Time

Claude McKay's Romance in Marseille -- only recently published -- pushes boundaries on sexuality, disability, identity -- all in gorgeous poetic prose.


Christine Ott Brings the Ondes Martenot to New Heights with the Mesmerizing 'Chimères'

France's Christine Ott, known for her work as an orchestral musician and film composer, has created a unique new solo album, Chimères, that spotlights an obscure instrument.


Man Alive! Is a Continued Display of the Grimy-Yet-Refined Magnetism of King Krule

Following The OOZ and its accolades, King Krule crafts a similarly hazy gem with Man Alive! that digs into his distinct aesthetic rather than forges new ground.


The Kinks and Their Bad-Mannered English Decency

Mark Doyles biography of the Kinks might complement a seminar in British culture. Its tone and research prove its intent to articulate social critique through music for the masses.


ONO Confronts American Racial Oppression with the Incendiary 'Red Summer'

Decades after their initial formation, legendary experimentalists ONO have made an album that's topical, vital, uncomfortable, and cathartic. Red Summer is an essential documentation of the ugliness and oppression of the United States.


Silent Women Filmmakers No Longer So Silent: Alice Guy Blaché and Julia Crawford Ivers

The works of silent filmmakers Alice Guy Blaché and Julia Crawford Ivers were at risk of being forever lost. Kino Lorber offers their works on Blu-Ray. Three cheers for film historians and film restoration.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.