Love is in the air! Or least in the aisles of the nearby Walgreens. They are jammed with animatronic heart shaped thingamajigs, cards that play "You are the Wind Beneath My Wings" when you open them, boxes and bags and crates of chocolates and lots of red. And lace. And five hour energy drinks.
It must mean it's Valentine’s season.
The Bloodshot office plays it a little more low key. In the lounge, we have a loop of Meg Ryan, Sandra Bullock and Jennifer Aniston rom-coms going; "Forgetting Sarah Marshall," but not "Knocked Up" (we just can't warm up to that Katherine Heigl). The kitchen has a steamer tray of the finest, freshest oysters from the Pacific Northwest and Sally Timms, using her poshest accent, reading aloud from "Pride and Prejudice." Oh that Mr Darcy. He's so dreamy.
We've hired a Ryan Gosling lookalike to approach, at the top of every hour, JP's desk and ask, in the sweetest voice possible, "Could I get you anything, my dear?" On the way, when he passes Swank's desk he drops off a BBQ rib with "Be Mine" written in sauce. We also force interns to dress like cherubs, at least until our lawyer tells us we have to stop. On Valentine's Day itself, we all leave the office early and, as one, head to our usual suite at Sybaris to take turns sliding into the heart shaped pool (hey, it's a local joke, but a good one).
Love songs, good and bad, causes of and reactions to, it can be argued, make up the bulk of subject matter of most music. Without it, you are pretty much left with Black Flag and Disco Duck. Country music, especially, lends itself well to love songs. Hell, you can just pick them out by the titles: “Driving Nails in My Coffin,” “Your Ex-Husband Sends Me Flowers,” “If The Phone Don’t Ring, You’ll Know It’s Me,” “She’s Acting Single, I’m Drinking Double,” “She Got the Goldmine, I Got The Shaft” just to start.”
Some Bloodshotties are pretty adept at them as well. Detroit Cobras hit them lovin’ soul numbers dead center, Charlie Pickett has some of the darkest songs around and Robbie Fulks can write ‘em in his sleep.
We’ve put together a couple of playlists for your listening pleasure (and a web sale!) during this month of the Valentine, the month of reveling in your partner, or cursing the greeting card industry for providing us with a day for coarse self-examination and loathing.
Hmmmm, we seem to lean more to the bad than the good.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Hogan eschews any and all sentimentality with this pithy and profane summation of:
LEAST FAVORITE LOVE SONGS:
You're Having My Baby: "the seed inside you, do you feel it growin'?"
You Were Always On My Mind: "I just never took the time..."
Ain't No Woman Like the One I Got "'cause it's my word, my word she'll
Happy Valentine's Day!
(former intern, bassist/vocalist in the Dyes)
Those shout-it-from-the-roof-tops, I-love-him-and-he-loves-me songs never fail to make our hearts feel warm and fluttery. There is no greater feeling than having a song to bop around to while you're falling head over heels. On the other hand, what is it about the unrequited love songs that keep us coming back for more when things don't work out? Perhaps it's because we've all been there. At one point or another, we've managed to love someone more than they've loved us back. Or maybe extenuating circumstances got in the way of something that we never wanted to give up on in the first place.
My pick is rocker Benny Joy's, "I'll Never Have the One I Love". When we're down in the dumps, the best remedy is a song that reminds us that we're not alone. I love this song because it remains candid and true from start to finish. The feelings he's dealing with here are not mutual, however, that doesn't discount them or make this any less of a love song. You can practically feel the despair and solemn acceptance of the notion that is the song's very title. The tireless melody, the relentlessness of his words, the way he howls and squalls; all of these things melt together and make the song seem even more unconditional.
The love in this song is far from perfect, and it's certainly not a two-way street, but to me, it's about as honest as it gets. "I'll never change the stars up above, but there's one thing, for certain: she'll always have my love."
A list of Christa Meyer's (formerly of Puerto Muerto—who contributed to BS compilations—now of Man is Man) all-time favorite "Love Making or Crying Alone in the Bathroom" songs:
1. "Your Precious Love," Marvin Gaye
2. "Who Knows Where the Time Goes," Nina Simone
3. "I Love You More Than Words Can Say," Otis Redding
4. "Rock Bottom Riser," Bill Callahan
5. "Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain," Willie Nelson
6. "Beautiful Ones," Prince
7. "Ne Me Quitte Pas," Jaques Brel
8. "Evil," Grinderman
9. "Crazy in Love," Antony and the Johnsons
10." She's Not Cheatin', She's Just Getting Even," Moe Bandy
(former BS publicist, introduced Bloodshot Rob to the demented wonders of Andre Williams in 1990 via her LP collection.)
This is an easy question.
“Apple Blossom Time.” The Andrews Sisters, Bill Haley and my Aunt RuthAnn all sang it, but the Flat Duo Jet's version is the very best. In fact, one day in May 2002, surrounded by apple blossoms, I walked down the aisle to Dex Romweber's recording. Corny, but true. "One day in May I'll come and say: 'Happy the bride the sun shines on today!' What a wonderful wedding there will be, What a wonderful day for you and me! Church bells will chime You will be mine In apple blossom time. I'll be with you in apple blossom time, I'll be with you to change your name to mine."
Ivory Joe Hunter's "Since I Met You Baby." Sweet and simple:
Since I met you baby
My whole life has changed
Since I met you baby
My whole life has changed
And everybody tells me
That I am not the same
I don't need nobody
To tell my troubles to
I don't need nobody
To tell my troubles to
'Cause since I met you baby
All I need is you
Since I met you baby
I'm a happy man
Since I met you baby
I'm a happy man
I'm gonna try to please you
In every way I can
The entire album Adore by the Smashing Pumpkins. I don't know if it is a love album per se (I think my husband Scott thought it was), but I had to listen to it every time I rode in Scott's car the first year we dated, and every time I wanted to throw it out the window. I guess you could say that love prevented me from actually doing it.
[Editor's Note: Pick up the recent Dex Romweber Duo album Is That You In The Blue? on sale this month. It's got some HARROWING lovegonewrong songs that you can hear on the "Valentine's Day! Boo!" playlist]
RETAIL WEIRDO PETE
Probably my favorite love song in the Bloodshot canon is Scott H. Biram's "Wreck My Car" from Dirty Old One Man Band. When you take into account the fact that Biram drives around in a badass fully-restored '65 Ranchero, this song's sentiment takes on a whole new and moving (no pun intended) dimension.
Also when discussing love, requited or un-, in Bloodshot songs, it should be noted that Justin Townes Earle's "Black Eyed Suzie" from Midnight at the Movies is the best, saddest song about a working girl since Tom Waits' "Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis." Honorable mention in this category: Andre Williams' "Pray For Your Daughter," from Can You Deal With It? Seeing Andre dedicate this song to his own daughter (who was sitting in the front row) at a nigh-sold out show at Millennium Park in Chicago was a lesson in family dynamics I will never forget.
(former intern, current bartender at Fitzgerald's and novice sausage maker)
I have three favorite love songs at the moment.
1. "The Most Beautiful Girl" by Charlie Rich. This song reminds me of driving around the city in my Dad's 1960's Monte Carlo while he sang it to me making me feel like, you guessed it, the most beautiful girl in the world.
2. "Forever in Blue Jeans" by Neal Diamond. A guilty pleasure, this lovely tune epitomizes how I think real love should be. Free of the need for material possessions when you have true love. Maybe my child like idealism is the reason I'm still living off tips in my forties.
3. "I'd Like To" by Mike Ireland (off of Down To The Promised Land: 5 Years of Bloodshot Records). He's been burned. She's been burned. And the prospect of being vulnerable again is frightening. Yet he sings, "I'd like to. I'd like to with you." I don't think it gets better than that. Everyone falls in love for the first time. But many people close their hearts after it's been broken. To try again in spite of fear is truly brave and why they say love concurs all.
I don't have any love songs that I hate because I love love. Unless of course Aerosmith has a love song. I would hate that one because I hate
[Editor's note: aww, #1 defrosts our icy hearts ….]
Being the good company hack, Nan keeps her list entirely in the BS family:
Love song mixtape:
"I'm In Love," Blacks
"Already In Love," Exene
"Come On Dear," Cordero
"I Wanna Holler (But The Town's Too Small)," Detroit Cobras
"Evening Gown," Alejandro Escovedo
"You Belong To My Heart," Old 97s
"Doreen," Old 97s
"Eyes For You," Old 97s
"Forest Fire," Mark Pickerel
"I Want to be Hugged to Death By You," Waycross (from the Straight Outta Boone County compilation)
Anti-love song mixtape:
"Valentine," Bobby Bare Jr
"I Want My Mojo Back," Scott H Biram
"When Love Shoots You In The Foot," Andre Williams
"You Look Like The Devil," Deadstring Brothers
"We'll Burn Together," Robbie Fulks
"Parallel Bars," Robbie Fulks
"I Am Trying To Break Your Heart," JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound
Favorite love song:
"Do I Ever Cross Your Mind," Dolly Parton with Chet Atkins
It's a song about lovers lost, and the forlorn emotions that often come forth when thinking about that once-special someone. Common activities that used to be yours together are now just reminders of what was and what could have been.
The song is a classic duet with one of my favorite male-female harmonies captured in song, to go along with Chet Atkins' upbeat strumming and wonderfully picked solos. I always thought that Chet and Dolly sounded like a couple in this song, even though their words are more about lost love and longing. Plus, at the end you can hear Dolly say, “I LOVE you!” and giggle and it’s that candid off-mic chatter that makes me like this song even more.
[Editor's Note: We had no idea Josh had such complex emotions. He is a MACHINE in the workplace.]
"Thirteen," Elliott Smith (a great reminder of those awkward 7th grade crushes)
"Walkin' After Midnight," Patsy Cline (I find this song to be incredibly creepy, but nonetheless in a "I love you so much that if I can't have you, I will hunt you down and no one will have you" kind of way)
"Fever," Peggy Lee
"The Very Thought of You," Billie Holiday (Billie Holiday's voice is some kind
"I'm Your Man," Leonard Cohen (for that kind of love that you'd do anything for)
"Since You Stole My Heart," "Saturday Looks Good to Me," "Your Song", Elton John
"Remember (Walkin' in the Sand)," Shangri-Las (haunting ... like the painful memories of your former)
"Lover Man," Etta James
Bryan Adams's "(Everything I Do) I Do It for You." My brain begins to bleed once that first piano chord stabs my cochleas. Along with the music video (Canadian tuxedo in the middle of the forest? Really?) and the movie it was written for (can Kevin Costner do anything vaguely passable as "I'll just ignore it and it'll go away"?), this song causes the darkest anger to exponentially grow deep inside my soul.
[Editor's Note: I do LOVE the anger that Bryan Adams inspires in Anthony, but he seems overly fond of Elton John. I guess it balances out]
RADIO MAN SWANK
"Let's Live Together" – Robbie Fulks - Country Love Songs
"Valentine" - Bobby Bare Jr. – From the End of Your Leash
"Sex Beat" - Alejandro Escovedo - Bourbonitis Blues
"Damn, Sam (I Love A Woman That Rains)" - Ryan Adams - Heartbreaker
"Love Train" - Yayhoos - For A Decade Of Sin
"Come A Long, Long Way" - Waco Brothers - Freedom & Weep
Love Gone Wrong:
"You Wouldn't Do That To Me" – Robbie Fulks - South Mouth
"Mother Ucker" - Bobby Bare Jr. - OK I'm Sorry
"Someday I'll Be Forgiven" - Justin Townes Earle - Midnight At The Movies
"Still Drunk, Still Crazy, Still Blue" – Scott H Biram - Something's Wrong/Lost Forever
"Smokin' 100s Alone" - Bottle Rockets - Not So Loud
"When Love Shoots You in The Foot" - Andre Williams - That's All I Need
"W-I-F-E" - Old 97s - Wreck Your Life
"The Other Shoe" - Old 97s - Wreck Your Life
"To love Someone (That Don't Love You)" - JC Brooks - Want More
And from the non-BS canon:
"Cowboys Are Frequently Secretly Fond of Each Other" – Willie Nelson
"Les Debris Ils Sont Blancs" – Phil Lee
"No Ones Gonna Love You More Than I Do" – Band Of Horses/Cee Lo Green
"Hate & Jealousy" – Lucero
[Editor's Note: Many of Swank's picks are in the playlists, if'n you want to take a listen. We are a little disturbed he put Bare Jr's "Valentine" in the "pro-love" category. And "Sex Beat" for that matter. We’ve said it before, people from downstate Illinois are a different type o' folk ...]
LOVE GONE BAD:
Hank Williams: A top ten list like could easily include 12 Hank tunes, but for our purposes here I'll pick "Lost Highway." Or maybe "Why Don't You Love Me Like You Used To Do…" or …..
George Jones: "The Grand Tour" Heavy, heavy countrypolitan pathos… (yeah, yeah, it’s also overly patriarchal, but it we can overlook that here, right? Though it would be nice to have someone bring me a paper…)
Charlie Pickett & the Eggs: "Liked It a Lot" Sinister and bitter to a terrifying, existential depth. Still gives me chills. (And it's on the "V-Day Boo! Playlist"—but watch it, it's got some salty language)
The Knitters, "Crying But My Tears Are Far Away"/ "Trail Of Time" Some breathtaking lyrics about loss and regret. Wore out my first copy of the LP.
Willie Nelson, "Blue Eyes Cryin In The Rain." A perfect song. As still and essential as a heartbeat. I couldn't listen to it for years after a jarring breakup.
The Cramps, "Lonesome Town" If Vincent Price wrote love sonnets…
Etta James, "I'd Rather Go Blind" Staggering. Knee-buckling.
"Driving Nails In My Coffin" Hank Thompson, Ernest Tubb, Asleep At The Wheel … whomever. Find me a jauntier heartbreak song. Keeps you smilin' through the pain.
Howlin' Wolf, "Killing Floor" One of the best metaphors for a break up: so vicious, so Chicago. And those Hubert Sumlin guitar licks…
Irma Thomas, "I Wish Someone Would Care" and/or "It's Raining" The Soul Queen of New Orleans can do little wrong in my book, but these two remain at the top of her canon for me.
Johnny Paycheck, "Pardon Me, I've Got Someone To Kill" Hair-raising honky tonk elevated to a near Gothic savage elegance. (The Andre Williams version is on the "Boo!" playlist)
Jon Wayne, "You And The Kitten" A demented fave over here in the north side of the office….
Suicide Kings, "Even Hookers Say Goodbye" One of the great kiss off lines of all time by this obscure Phoenix band.
LOVE GONE GOOD:
John Prine & Iris DeMent, "In Spite Of Ourselves" The hope that even weirdos can find each other and celebrate their weirdness. And their togetherness.
Al Green, "Love and Happiness" This song has special powers that make clothes magically unbutton.
Etta James, "Sunday Kind Of Love" A song that was on my list's bubble, but then she died and I HAD to include it. A paean to whiling away a Sunday in the glow of your other.
The Five Satins, "In The Still Of The Night and The Flamingos "I Only Have Eyes For You" Lush doo-wop of the highest order. Everything goes all soft-focus when these come on the radio. A problem when I'm driving.
Bow Wow Wow, "I Want Candy" Sure, what adolescent punk rock goofball like me DIDN'T have a crush on Annabella Lwin? But it also reminds of my first serious girlfriend. It was, as they say, "our song." And it’s a jam, as they say.
Buddy Holly, "Every Day" Another perfect song.
Flat Duo Jets, "You Belong To Me" It's been done a hundred times (Dean Martin, Patti Page, The Duprees, even..gulp, Taylor Swift,) but the Jets version is the one I heard first, and remains the best. From an album known for its rave ups (Go Go Harlem Baby) it produced two of my favorite romantic ballads (see Thais' entry above) and is just a wonderful song.
George Jones/Tammy Wynette, "The Jet Set" If only for the sheer AUDACITY of the Tchaikofsky/Huskey rhyme right after the "martinis and weenies" one.
Hank Williams, "Howling At The Moon," "Settin' The Woods On Fire" Hey, he can turn that frown upside down with the best of them!
Ike & Tina Turner, "River Deep Mountain High. Add in Phil Spector as producer and you’ve got a recipe for high psychosis, but the results speak for themselves. A rock and soul operatic masterpiece.
Mark Lanegan, "Please Consider Me" Woozy opiate soul. Closing time, crooked smile charm.
Otis Redding, "I've Been Loving You Too Long (To Stop Now). “ The live at Monterey version. He hits notes that make me spontaneously burst into tears. The filthy hippies in the audience had no idea what to do with this man.
The Pogues, "Dirty Old Town" Echoes of my Detroit hometown and making out in the shadows of the shuttered Stroh's brewery.
Ray Charles, "The Night Time Is The Right Time" Shit man, if this don't get your hips moving, see a specialist. Love the one your with, friends.
Sam Cooke, Anything, really, but specifically "What A Wonderful World" and "You Send Me."