The poet Emily Dickinson once wrote that “Valentine’s Day sucks rocks,” and it’s easy to see why: Dickinson was known for her use of filthy geological metaphor, as well as for totally hating romance — she was singularly invested in writing about the matters that truly interested her, specifically death, immortality, quail hunting, tattoos and her beloved Georgia Bulldogs.
We here at Popdose agree with E-Dick: Valentine’s Day is one of our nation’s stupidest holidays, right behind Law Day (May 1, look it up, Wikipedia doesn’t lie), National Freedom Day (Feb. 1, like all the other days we’re like, “Dammit”) and Thanksgiving. Even on your best days, on your most goopy-eyed, slow-motion-walks-on-the-beach days, you’re-not-annoyed-by-the-other-person’s-insignificant-faults-yet days, Valentine’s Day is no good: you get, like, two good ones before it comes less about, “How best can I giveth my heart to my ain true love?” and more about, “Christ, I need something chocolate, is Walgreens open at 3 a.m.?”
But it’s double-secret stupid for anyone who works anywhere remotely near the publishing industry, or anywhere where some pinheaded editor can go, “So, do we have any ideas for Valentine’s Day this year?” So this year, we here at Popdose came up with an idea, and it’s a good one: Seeing as how it’s nearly Valentine’s Day, and seeing as how Valentine’s Day sucks rocks, and seeing as how most of you readers are thinking just shut up and give us the free MP3s already, we’d like to present Songs for the Dumped, a two-week anthology in which music nerds write about tracks they’ve attached to a particular crippling breakup, let you splash around in the stories behind them and hopefully, if we’ve done our jobs, make you feel slightly better about your own miserable romantic history by allowing you to compare it favorably to ours. (Or, as the highly talented David Medsker wrote me last week: “Did you like how we all just bore our souls at the drop of a hat?”)
Despotic Popdose ruler Jeff Giles has given me the great joy of being able to preview and curate this series, and let me tell you there’s gold in here: Dirty Dancing, 25 girls named Kim, a cat with poor timing, Ann-Margret writhing around in baked beans and Was (Not Was). Those are all different stories, by the way.
Anyway, stick with us, come back every day for a new tale of Woe and Depression and Melancholy; we’ll wrap this up on Feb. 14 with a story so emotionally crushing it’ll make your clothes damp and heavy. There’s a contest, too: On V-Day, we’ll be soliciting your stories of heartache, and the person who submits the best (worst?) will win, courtesy of our friends at Total Assault, a free copy of Things I’ve Learned From Women Who’ve Dumped Me, the awesomely funny new book edited by former Onion editor and Daily Show producer Ben Karlin. Start dredging up those dark romantic pasts!
And now, ’cause this is how we roll, here are a pair of songs to get you in the mood: “Feb. 14” by the Drive-By Truckers (download), and “Valentine’s Day in Juarez,” by the Ike Reilly Assassination (download). (Also, the good folks over at This American Life a while back launched their very own Break-Up Song Contest; because we love us some public radio we urge you to check it out here.) Meet you back here tomorrow!