A Darker Love: Five Songs for Valentine’s Day

It’s Valentine’s Day.  Apparently that means we give cards to our significant other, buy them chocolates and go out for meals. Or do we? Valentine’s Day is a commercial festival on a very grand scale that needs no more spent on it than a well thought out gift! It doesn’t have to be pink or wrapped up in a neatly tied ribbon or even candle lit. A very good friend of ours (who shall remain anonymous) said recently that if you need Valentine’s Day to show your love then you needn’t bother and in many ways we agree. In the spirit of that thought, we’ve assembled five songs that take a darker look at that thing many call love.

Fiona Apple: Paper Bag

Ever since the release of the truly haunting album Tidal Fiona Apple has released a never less than excellent and darkly thoughtful catalogue of songs. Paper Bag is as cynical as it sounds; the lyrics as sweet and effortless as a conversation but the meaning’s deeper than you imagine on first listen. 

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds: Jubilee Street

This standout from the long standing band’s darkly hewn 2013 album Push The Sky Away is not a ballad as such, it isn’t even performed in that style.  But its content is truly beautiful, it describes not a traditional boy meets girl love but that of the client and the prostitute. All without destroying any of the purity of the feeling…

P.J. Harvey: Send His Love to Me

P.J. Harvey has a fair few dark ballads to her credit but it’s this distractingly simple but beautiful song that set a high benchmark early on in her career. With sparse repeated guitar motifs and an unpolished vocal track this song says much more about love and loss than any overproduced power ballad ever could.

Marianne Faithfull: Sister Morphine

They say that love is a drug, and on this eternally listenable cut from Marianne Faithfull’s early releases love is a drug called Morphine. Co written with The Rolling Stones, this original easily tops their version imbued with a sense of confused emotion and odd satisfaction from said drug it’s an essential listen that hasn’t aged one little bit.

Courtney Love: Hold Onto Me

Although Courtney Love herself shrugs off her first solo album as not very good, there are many reasons why it is very good. This song is one reason why, featuring some excellent lyrics and a voice that is just on the right side of husky.


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