Press Play-list Special Edition: your angsty, love-is-dead playlist for this Valentine’s Day

Bartholomew Carmody, Arts Editor

Feb. 14 is coming up fast, and we here at The Pace Press would like to help you celebrate the day of romance with a curated playlist.

No, not through songs about flowers, chocolates and commercialism, but through songs about bitterness and middle fingers.

That’s right, this Valentine’s Day, we’re letting our cynical hopeless romantic fly, because there are enough love playlists out there. Here’s your Press Play-list for Valentine’s Day 2021. <3

Avril Lavigne – “Complicated”

You know that song that you play with your headphones loud, head pressed against the raindrop-ridden window of a bus ride home? This is that song. “Complicated” starts off with some melancholic acoustic strums and poignant electric wails, perfectly setting the tone for the song’s narrative. It’s the kind of song you blast when you want to trash your room after failing to make something work that just couldn’t from the start. That devastatingly catchy, unforgettable chorus, “Why’d you have to go and make things so complicated? / I see the way you’re / Actin’ like you’re somebody else, gets me frustrated” exhibits Lavigne’s jadedness towards a whole relationship impeccably, not at the expense of her trademark edgy attitude. The chorus also expresses spitefulness towards two-faced friends and partners – something that we were all too familiar with during our teenage angst years. Throw this song on as a middle finger to any of those fake friends, and let Lavigne’s bittersweet serenade remind you aren’t the only one experiencing the drama of two-faced people.

Fall Out Boy – “Thnks Fr Th Mmrs”

“Thnks Fr Th Mmrs” is about as weird-2000’s-music-video as a song can get, featuring a stage crew of chimpanzees and an appearance from none other than Kim Kardashian. But looking past the song’s music video, the lyrics hold a tragic tale of two doomed lovers who can’t let go of their physical love for the sake of their personal well-being. Lead singer Pete Wentz’s lyrics “Thanks for the memories / Even though they weren’t so great” also hold a sorrowful tone, as the two reminisce about the time they spent together, trying desperately to believe that it wasn’t time wasted. The pop-punk ballad is an anthem for that post-breakup bittersweet feeling. Thnks Pt Wntz.

TLC – “No Scrubs”

Since this playlist has been made up of sad, post-breakup songs so far, it’s only fair that we mention one of the catchiest, most recognized “f*ck love” club anthems, “No Scrubs” by R&B trio TLC. The legendary Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas, Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins, and Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes perform a serenade to any and all of the “scrubs” in the audience, an Atlanta-born term that means, put delicately, a man that TLC won’t waste any time on. The song is not only a banger, but a celebration of independence. In an interview with Billboard, T-Boz described the song as “an empowering anthem,” recalling, “When we are performing it, I look out in the audience and say this cool little speech about certain guys you got to stay away from … The reason I knew [the song] was going to be big because what it’s talking about is so relatable to every woman in America.” So, if we’re talking anti-love, sometimes you just have to take TLC’s advice: “A scrub is a guy that can’t get no love from me.”

Paramore – “That’s What You Get”

Fittingly fourth on our list is the pop-punk band Paramore’s single “That’s What You Get.”  Similar to “No Scrubs,” the song provides a forewarning about moving into love too quickly, adequately conveying the message: “That’s what you get when you let your heart win;” when you think with your feelings, and not with your head. The song also explores the dangers that come with a codependent relationship, as lead singer Hayley Williams belts statements of regret over unstopping guitar riffs and crashing drums. It’s the perfect angsty tune for bluntly reminding a broken heart that nobody’s right or wrong in a breakup – that’s just love.

Kanye West – “See You In My Nightmares” (feat. Lil Wayne)

Kanye West’s departure from style “808’s & Heartbreak” is full of perfect tracks for our anti-Valentine’s Day playlist, but perhaps the most angsty track of them all is the fierce “See You In My Nightmares” featuring Lil Wayne. The song cleverly plays on the “see you in my dreams” cliché and turns that romantic energy into something more far more spiteful – the kind of spite one can only feel following a heartbreak. Following the style of most songs on “808’s and Heartbreaks,” an overly-autotuned West sings words of both personal and interpersonal resentment over a crisp, synth-filled instrumental – so crisp that it almost feels as cold as West claims he’s feeling at the beginning of the song. And if West’s vocals aren’t angsty enough, Wayne’s accompanying verse is about as hilariously harsh as it gets: “You think your shit don’t stank but you are Mrs. P-U.”

blink-182 – “Dammit”

In the band’s prime, blink-182 was woefully masterful at writing those songs that perfectly encapsulated the tumultuousness of our teenage years. Whether it’s the feeling of head-over-heels longing in their song “I Miss You,” or the giddy, nostalgic nervousness that comes with a first date on their song “First Date,” the punk band was long a staple for many nights of adolescent angst. Their lesser-known song “Dammit,” is a sort of change of pace for the band. Sonically, it sounds like many other of their early-career hits, starting off with catchy riffs shredded on electric guitar and Mark Hoppus’s gritty, pepped-up vocals. But it’s more mature than their other angsty tracks, in a sense. Following the story of a breakup and each person moving on, the lyrics are sad, sure. But Hoppus repeatedly sings the line, “I guess this is growing up,” taking the grief that follows a breakup and underscoring the personal growth and knowledge of oneself that can come with it. Although the song sonically sounds like it should be an all-too-easy letter of resentment towards an ex-lover, it disguises itself as such, and Hoppus actually celebrates the experience of a breakup as a natural part of “growing up.” As the title implies, sometimes all we can say after heartbreak is: “dammit.” What’s more angsty than that?