A Valentine's Day playlist contest!

Can you put together the ultimate Valentine's Day playlist?

By Salon Staff
Published February 1, 2007 8:20PM (EST)

Red roses. Dinner by candlelight. A bottle of Thunderbird and a carton of menthols. They all have their charms, but we all know that they don't really compare with Marvin Gaye, Al Green or, my personal favorite, Throbbing Gristle for sheer seductive power. Nothing says love like a song, so in honor of the upcoming amour-themed holiday, Audiofile's first playlist contest of the year is all about love. We're looking for the playlist that best captures the essence of Valentine's Day. But don't take that to mean you have to pick a bunch of sweet and sappy tunes -- this contest is also open to the jilted, the dumped and the spurned. If you can find 10 perfectly nasty tunes that speak to the bilious ire you feel when you see lovers strolling hand in hand, send 'em along! We'll announce the big winner on Valentine's Day, Feb. 14. And if you win, your present is a big ole Valentine from us -- and we'll let you dedicate your playlist to your special someone. How's that for romantic?

We hate to spoil the mood, but here are the rules:

-- All tracks must be both free and legal and must be posted on the artist's Web site, on a label's Web site or on a legitimate MP3 site like Better Propaganda, Insound or Epitonic -- sure, you're welcome to dip into the Audiofile archives to find some of your material, but we'll be more excited about playlists that bring in fresh tunes.

-- Include the artist name, track title and download link for every track.

-- Each playlist must have a title and a description (of about 100 words).

-- Each playlist should be between 10 and 15 tracks.

-- No streams! Only MP3 downloads.

-- You can't include your own music.

-- Submissions should be sent to audiofile@salon.com with the subject line "Valentine's Day Songs."

-- The deadline for submissions is 5 p.m. EST, Wednesday, Feb. 7.

Now that we've got all the boring stuff out of the way, here's my playlist. I tried to stay away from that mushy gushy stuff that always gets dredged up come Valentine's Day. That kind of music always seemed sort of dishonest to me anyway, seeing as how love encompasses more than just feeling good about someone. In varying degrees, love also carries with it jealousy, humor, confusion, sadness and, of course, sex. To that end, I've tried to put together a list of songs that I think touches on love and all the other stuff that goes along with it. It's probably not a playlist that will do much good at setting a romantic mood, but I think it's a little more honest and complex than most Valentine's Day fare. Ranging in style from sarcastic country to dirty techno and in sentiment from tragic obsession to joyous proclamation, here are 14 songs that I think shed some light in various ways on what love is all about. So take a listen -- I can't wait to hear how your playlists tackle the same subject!

-- D.M.

1. "Let's Make Love and Listen to Death From Above," CSS

2. "Ghost of an Unkissed Kiss," Trembling Blue Stars

3. "The False Husband," Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan

4. "You Are the Light," Jens Lekman

5. "Alice," Tom Waits

6. "If You've Got the Money," Merle Haggard

7. "If You Knew," Neko Case

8. "Fucking Boyfriend, (Peaches Remix)," The Bird and the Bee

9. "Where's My Love," Caroline

10. "The Music Lovers," Destroyer

11. "A Desperate Cry for Help," The Beauty Shop

12. "Dancing With Joey Ramone," Amy Rigby

13. "My Baby Loves Me," The Wowz

14. "Let Me Down Easy," Bettye LaVette

Salon Staff

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