Valentine’s Day is a masterfully staged revelry of hearts, flowers and romantic fancification. But, of course, not everyone’s buying into it.
Art, naturally, can always be counted on for an incisively oppositional position. LA’s Bestial Mouths, for instance, have been trolling the darkest recesses of the human psyche since debuting in 2011 with Hissing Veil. Their 2016 album, in fact, bears the title Heartless – and is a paradigm of the band’s nouveau-gothic sonic ideology. It flaunts such cheerily monikered tracks as “Down to the Bones” and “Small Prey”…and the title track is a chilling psycho-sexual exploration.
Seeking to provide a soundtrack for those with, shall we say, a less fanciful view of all that VDay pageantry, we turned to BM singer Lynette Cerezo. A hauntingly beautiful Siouxsie Sioux for the digital generation, her frenzied, piercing vocal delivery and provocative physical histrionics recall the greatest extremes of Alice Glass or Diamanda Galas. Hardly surprising, her choice of songs here, from Nick Cave to Toronto synth gods Austra, will fittingly reinforce your most incredulous sentiments on the sunshiny edition of romance peddled each February 14.
“I have always been the black sheep,” she confesses, “the ultimate ‘anti’ in a way. As a young girl I took to the attitude never to fall in love, or be the girl alone at the dances on that lonely wall. Often asked ‘do you like anything?’, my reply: ‘probably not.’ So of course Valentine’s Day means to me to acknowledge life’s true plight: the darkness of matters of the heart. We as humans can all unite in that; so as I see it, we are celebrating this holiday together after all, right?”
The Magnetic Fields “I Can’t Touch You Anymore”
Is there anyone else more Anti-Valentine’s Day than The Magnetic Fields?! The irony and sarcasm mixed with humor leaves you feeling hopeless, yet laughing…”there’s so much to hate you for, I love you, (but) I can’t touch you anymore.”
Austra “I Love You More Than You Love Yourself”
Sadly all the roses and candy hearts in the world will not make someone love themself. Happy Valentine’s Day — you are faced with an impossible task, good luck!
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds featuring PJ Harvey “Henry Lee”
If you plead for your lover to chose you, the next best anti thing to do is to throw them down a well to kill them, so no one else can have them. I think that’s a lot of self-sacrificing actually, because hey, you’re in mourning, too, because you lost your love then, right?
All About Eve “Never Promise (Anyone Forever)”
When you should be swearing your love lies of “till death do us part,” try saying “Never promise anyone forever” instead. I’m assuming this song must be about cheating, though: “Don’t go out tonight, Don’t leave me alone, doesn’t feel safe to live with a liar.”
Antony and the Johnsons “Hope There’s Someone”
At the first moment one hears Antony sing, it’s an instant chill which leaves you with a looming feeling of dread. Alone and longing for someone to be there when you die is a pretty morbid thing. Hey, so I know it’s our first date and everything, but first things first: let’s make sure you can commit to being at my death bed, pretty please?