The anti-Valentine’s playlist

John Howard – Baby Go Now

“Produced by the legendary Trevor Horn early in his career, Howard’s beautiful 1978 lament to the inevitable departure of a loved one is a thing of abject melancholy, from the wailing string section and organ to the dramatic percussion and mournful guitar riff. A desperate breakup tale which might just make you glad to be single…”

Sharon van Etten – Your Love is Killing Me

“Let’s face it, you wouldn’t really turn to van Etten to cheer yourself up, but this bleak story of a stifling relationship is particularly downbeat. You’ll never want to be with someone ever again after listening to this – perfect if you find yourself alone on the 14th.” – Tony Allen

Frank Turner – To Take You Home

“When I saw Frank in 2014 he told the story of his former French lover who dumped him as he tuned up his guitar to play To Take You Home for her for the first time. With a natty little riff (used on Countryfile almost weekly), tongue-in-cheek vocals about a tonguein-another’s-cheek kiss and a story about being dumped in Paris, it’s the ultimate not-too-negative anti-Valentine’s song.”

Julien Baker – Go Home

“I’ve kissed enough bathroom sinks to make up for the lovers who never loved me” croons Julien Baker in the swan song to her debut album. Soft yet hard-hitting, Go Home is a song about waking up in a ditch having drunk yourself half to death over heartbreak and depression.”

The Gaslight Anthem – Get Hurt

“The title track of the band’s divorce album is a testament to the death of a long-term relationship. Brain Fallon never sounded so defeated as he does when roaring “I came to get hurt”. On an album full of anti-love songs (Halloween, Have Mercy, Break Your Heart and Dark Places all deserving a place on this list by their own virtue), this is a standout track for its sheer jadedness.”

Augustines – Chapel Song

“Augustines’ debut is a collection of songs from a broken man. William McCarthy’s band had broken up, his brother and mother died and his relationship had fallen apart. All in the same month, August, and around his birthday. Chapel Song deals most explicitly with the relationship breakdown and is sung by a man clearly on the verge of tears. If you thought you’d heard a miserable song, wait until you hear Chapel Song.” – Nick Mason


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Tony Allen

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June 2022
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