I was trying to have an opinion on Valentine's Day, I really was. I was trying to be upset or angry or happy or all "girl power."
I wrote and rewrote and just butchered a post about the day last night. I didn't have anything special to say. So I cranked the iTunes and tracked through some of my favorites.
I listened to a range of love-themed songs, from the classic wedding tune "At Last" by Etta James, which can single handedly melt my heart when I have become cynical, to the wrenching "I Can't Make You Love Me" by Bonnie Raitt, which is enough to make me want to crawl under the covers and cry for days when I can commiserate.
There is the slightly sad, but ultimately hopeful "Ready for Love" by India Arie, about being ready for and open to mature feelings of love. And the dismal "I Know" by Fiona Apple, which captures that moment when you delude yourself into thinking he loves you and lower yourself to being in the background and waiting.
When I am coming out of the fog of romanticism and need to feel empowered, no song lifts by spirits like "Right To Be Wrong" by Joss Stone. But before I get there, I'm always going to stop by for some Aretha "R-E-S-P-E-C-T." And I'd be lying if I neglected to mention that "I Will Survive" by Gloria Gaynor is one of those cheesy disco songs during which I give myself permission to sing loudly and do hand motions while in public.
The bitter break-up anthem for people my age, "You Oughta Know" by Alanis Morissette has come in handy at times. (As has "Untouchable Face" by Ani DiFranco and the absolutely miserable "Grace is Gone" by the Dave Matthews Band.) And I've always found it quite ironic (but, like, really ironic) that the same woman who penned one of the most forcefully angry love-is-over songs also (on the same album) has one of my favorite songs for new loves and new crushes and possibilities in "Head Over Feet," (from "Jagged Little Pill") which I have giddily enjoyed since high school.
While we're talking new love, I listen to "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?" year-round, because it describes that time in the beginning before the other shoe has dropped when you are just ecstatic to even be approaching the object of your affection. And songwriter John Hiatt gets me every time with "Feels Like Rain," because who doesn't love to spend a lazy rainy day in the arms of the person they love. And yes, Joni Mitchell, I can drink "A Case Of You" and still be on my feet.
I am a huge fan of the terribly overplayed and over hyped "Bless the Broken Road" by Rascal Flats, because at my core I always be a hopeless romantic and I can honestly still say I believe there will be a moment when all of the dating disasters, the unreturned phone calls, the silly games and emotional unsteadiness, crying into a pillow and having "just one more glass of wine" will make sense and end with me happy with a guy who is going to love me for all of my ridiculousness and flaws and who will just get me.
And if there's not, there's always tequila and Bon Jovi's "You Give Love a Bad Name." Sing it, man.