I've done a Valentine's Day post every year here at the BWF, and seriously considered taking this one off. Partially, because I'm not thrilled by this particular holiday, and also I've found writing to be increasingly difficult as of late - hence the relative silence here. Writer's block, I guess, which is funny because I'm not even a writer, I'm a photographer.
So, happy Valentines Day to all of you who are lucky enough to be attached and happy about celebrating it on this particular day. Personally, as time goes on I find this day to be a bit of a farce - another Hallmark enforced holiday to make us feel like shit whether we're in love or not - but that, of course, is strictly subjective and contingent upon my own current milieu. I don't mean to be a bummer here, and perhaps I am. There's thousands of songs about how great it is to be in love - some of them are great, but most of them are lies. Love, like a rose garden in the dark is sticky, prickly, and dangerous. It's constantly shifting and rarely meeting for any length of time between the parties involved. When it does, though, it's a beautiful thing. I believe in the wonder of love, and that ultimately it can conquer all. Unfortunately, it can also be slippery, elusive, and painful. But enough about me.
In physiological terms, new love creates all kinds of chaotic brain chemistry: endorphins, adrenaline, dopamine, and seratonin, that actually causes a euphoria not different than that which a drug addict controls though daily use. Unfortunately, these things level out after a few months and only the strong survive. It's no accident that most new love affairs lose their passion after this initial burst of electrical transmission of brain synapses.
When compiling this little playlist I noticed a number of songs that refer to love as an addiction or affliction. It can be, and it ain't no joke. In 12-Step programs, "insanity" is defined as trying the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Where else is this more prevalant in our everyday lives than in love relationships.
Carla Thomas finds herself weak and defenseless over her lover in "Strung Out," a term used to describe addiction itself. She's powerless and can't help herself. Peter Perrett (The Only Ones), who wrote dozens of thinly veiled love songs about drugs gives us, "Oh Lucinda (True Love Becomes a Habit), which is somewhat less transparent. "Love Is The Drug," by Roxy Music needs little explanation. Bryan Ferry has the hook in him he's trolling downtown looking to score. You can substitute love for sex in this one. Sonic Youth's 1980's side project, Ciccone Youth, does a tongue- in-cheek take on Robert Palmer's hit "Addicted To Love," which is best known for it's MTV video of Palmer singing the the song with cloned super-models acting as his band. It's another song about withdrawal and looking for a fix.
Anyway, do enjoy your Valentines Day, regardless, and I should also like to remind you that this year it coincides with (on a cosmic level) the new moon and the Chinese New Year of the Roaring Tiger. Be safe, lovers and romantics, and have a happy whatever you choose day.
I'm going to Chinatown.
"Strung Out" mp3
by Carla Thomas, 1969.
available on The Complete Stax-Volt Soul Singles, Vol. 2: 1968-1971
"Oh Lucinda (True Love Becomes a Habit)" mp3
by The Only Ones, 1978.
Baby's Got a Gun
"Love Is The Drug" mp3
by Roxy Music, 1983.
available on Siren
"Addicted To Love" mp3
by Ciccone Youth, 1988.
available on The Whitey Album
top photo: © Ted Barron, 2010.