Welcome, everyone, to a brand new feature here on The Garden Statement! If you’ve noticed, there is a space on the right-hand side of our homepage that displays a Spotify playlist. That playlist spot has been showing our Top Albums of 2015 for a full year now, so we’ve decided it’s time to do something about that. Our solution is called “On The List,” and it’ll feature any playlists we make for various holidays, festivals, etc. This week, we’re lighting the scented candles, buying some of our favorite chocolates, and giving it to that special someone or stuffing our lonely faces with it. That’s right, it’s Valentine’s Day!

One of our favorite shows to do each year when we were on 91.3FM WTSR was our “Love/Hate Valentine’s Day” Special, where we played the best love songs and anti-love songs in emo. This year marks the first time since 2011 that we haven’t done the Love/Hate show, and it’s something that makes us miss doing the show even more than usual. Still, we’re suckers for tradition, so this year we thought to make a few more additions to our list. Take a look at what Craig and Donald added (with an explanation for each track), and check out the playlist at the end of the post!

 

“Love” Songs

Turnover – “Humming”
This was a track that I made sure we played on the show last year, but it bears repeating: this is one of the sneakiest love songs I’ve ever heard, and I mean that as a compliment. Turnover’s Peripheral Vision is an amazing record, and “Humming” is one of its best highlights. The soundtrack to a new infatuation, “Humming” details that feeling of finding someone who just “gets” you, and the ecstasy of wanting to spend as much time with that person. One of the best feelings you can find in this world is finding someone who makes you better, and when Austin Getz sings that chorus, I get goosebumps every time. –Donald

Walk the Moon – “Aquaman”
One of the benefits of doing this playlist on the blog instead of on the radio show is that we can explore a bunch of different genres that we otherwise wouldn’t be able to play. Set perfectly to a slow, island paradise-sounding beat, Walk the Moon put on their wet suits and conjure up the best water metaphors they can muster to create the perfect illustration of a relationship that’s headed for something deeper. Very similar to “Humming” in that it gives the feeling of pure infatuation with a partner, and a desire to follow them anywhere. It’s about as corny as a love song can get, but Walk the Moon’s unmatched personality and flair help the track stand out. –Donald

The Menzingers – “After the Party”
Let’s all be honest, here: love songs can be a little heavy-handed when it comes to the glamor and storybook-esque depiction of a relationship. The Menzingers have never been a band the focused on conventional imagery, so when it came time to look back on a relationship in his younger years, Greg Barnett chooses to focus on what happens after everyone’s had their drinks, made their moves, and posted their photos on Instagram. Instead, he looks back fondly on those wild nights while simultaneously appreciating the quieter, less-appreciated moments in a relationship: late-night conversations (with or without the influence of alcohol), waking up slowly the next morning, and sharing memories over a cup of coffee. It’s another sterling example of Barnett’s impeccible storytelling, and even more proof that The Menzingers are capable of pretty much anything. -Donald

Petal – Heaven

Petal’s Shame was released a year and a half ago, but I still fall in love with it more and more every time I listen to it. Songwriter/vocalist Kiley Lotz has a way of capturing these fleeting moments of love and bliss and vitality in a way that few others are capable of. On “Heaven,” Lotz compares a loved one to a melody that seems just ever-present on the forefront of their mind:  “A melody I can comprehend, theory so simple.” It’s a succinct but powerful metaphor for the way those we love seem to always seep into our thoughts. And don’t even get me started on that key modulation for the final chorus. It’s one of the most hope-laden moments in the past several years of music, and fills me with the same feelings of the rush of a new love every time I hear it. – Craig

All Time Low – Somewhere In Neverland

I have been on record as saying that All Time Low’s Don’t Panic has no less than five perfect pop songs (“Backseat Serenade”, “Outlines”, “If These Sheets Were the States, and “The Reckless and the Brave” are the other four in order of quality). But “Somewhere In Neverland” is the best of them all. Other artists have used Wendy from Peter Pan as a metaphor (most notably Bruce Springsteen on what is maybe the greatest rock song ever, “Born To Run”), but few have married that metaphor with the kind of hooks and lyrical witticism that All Time Low accomplish here. It transforms a song from wanting to escape “9 to 5 routines” into a grand escapism fantasy, one which finds you singing along perhaps just a little to loudly to Alphaville’s “Forever Young” in an in vain attempt to recapture your youth. – Craig 

Kehlani – Undercover 

Kehlani spins off an interpolation of the classic mid-2000s anthem “Don’t Matter” by Akon into a fun little love song about star-crossed lovers. “They don’t want to see it happen, but we say fuck it,” the chorus goes, and it’s hard not to root for Kehlani and her unnamed paramour. She’s just so darn charismatic, whether its a tongue in cheek reference to a certain sex act (“Hit that 6-9, yeah that FaceTime”) or describing the lengths she will go to keep the relationship secret (“I’m gonna save your name under something else, I’m gonna keep your things deep in my shelf.”). -Craig

“Hate” Songs

Paramore – “For a Pessimist, I’m Pretty Optimistic”
Don’t let the title of this song fool you; there is no hope for the relationship Hayley Williams is describing in this song. There’s nothing worse than when a lover turns out to not be as committed as you thought, and Hayley isn’t pulling any punches in her message to her detractor. “I never wanted to say this, you never wanted to stay” stings each time she sings it in the song’s chorus, but the bridge’s opening line “You were finished long before we had even seen the start” shows the emotional distress she’s endured. The Farro brothers take over from there, as the headbang-inducing breakdown gives you the perfect opporunity to thrash out your anger. -Donald

PVRIS – “My House”
Going in a different direction that Paramore in “Pessimist,” Lynn Gunn chronicles a lover whose had enough. Significant others have a knack for sticking around in our minds longer than we’d like to admit, and the declaration Gunn makes (“It’s my house, and I think it’s time you get out”) provides a great rallying cry for those who have finally found the strength to move on. It’s as angry as it is empowering, and that’s exactly why it belongs on the list. -Donald

Circa Survive – “Imaginary Enemy”
Somewhat along the lines of “My House” in that its chorus can be used to empower its listeners, Circa Survive try to help someone see that they’re not the bad guy with this Blue Sky Noise. Some relationships just have to end, no matter how much you wish they didn’t,but that doesn’t mean it hurts any less. So when Anthony Green sings “I tried so hard to be what you needed,” it’s hard not to recall a time when you wanted nothing more than to be “good enough” for the person you were pursuing. The anguish in Green’s voice makes this one of Circa Survive’s most emotional tracks. -Donald

Envy on the Coast – Clean of You

Have you ever been so upset by a breakup that you want to break your ex’s new boyfriend’s car? No? Well the singer of Envy on the Coast has, and as he snidely puts it, “I heard your boy has a sweet tooth, so I put sugar in his gas tank, ooh.” Despite both Snopes and Mythbusters saying that the sugar in the gas tank myth is busted (it doesn’t actually ruin a car’s engine), this song, the “closer” (there is a hidden track after) off the band’s phenomenal Lowcountry still functions expertly well as an angry breakup song. Perhaps the irrationality of the gas tank sugar act even adds to that, as it’s the kind of devious plan someone who is blinded by unrequited love would come up with . – Craig

PUP – Old Wounds

Speaking of songs threatening new lovers of ex-flames, PUP’s Old Wounds is a rip-roaring slice of revenge punk. The second verse especially is a visceral airing of grievances that I honestly just want to write out in full to make you understand how badass this song is: “You wanna know where I’ve been lately? You wanna know if I’m still a prick? Well, I am, and you’re not gonna change me. So you got another guy going with you. You say you like him, but he’s got a bad attitude. Well maybe he’s perfect for you! And maybe he deserves less trouble than you gave him or maybe he deserves his face in the pavement.” This song is the musical equivalent of the flames emoji. – Craig

Phantogram – Cruel World

The simmering anger of Phantogram’s “Cruel World” kind of sneaks up on you. Then again the song begins with a delicate piano note followed by ominous bass notes in alternating fashion, which should be your first hint that there is something unsettling here. And then the lyrics kick in and there is a simmering anger to vocalist Sarah Barthel in this breakup song. “I wish I could say that I’m sorry / But I’m over that, now I’m taking you out / It’s a cruel, cruel world,” Barthel sings before a haunting sample blares into your speakers. It’s a slower burn than the PUP song, to be sure, but there is some serious cascading frustration under the surface. – Craig

 

Thanks for taking the time to check out what’s On The List for this Valentine’s Day! Whether you’re headed out to dinner for a date or waiting until the 15th when all the Valentine’s Day candy goes on clearance, we think this playlist has you covered pretty well. We’ve added a few more of our favorites, but if we missed one of your favorites, let us know in the comments! We’ve also included a link to the Apple Music playlist for those who are like Craig and use that service.

 

Apple Music Playlist