Salon's musical guide to feeling your feelings this Valentine's Day

Are you obnoxiously in love? Heartbroken? Unaware that it's even Valentine's Day? We've got the playlist for you

By Katie McDonough
Published February 13, 2015 10:04PM (EST)
Jimmy Page, Otis Redding      (AP/Veronica Farley)
Jimmy Page, Otis Redding (AP/Veronica Farley)

There is a particular kind of punisher, a term one of my best friends uses, aptly, to describe people who punish you with their very presence, who delight in ruining inconsequential but nonetheless sincere pleasures. This is the guy who, say, tells you that a pretty sunset is mostly just pollution. This is also the guy who tells you that Valentine’s Day is a fake holiday created to sell greeting cards. And my response, on both counts, is, Yes. And so what?

So when people say they hate Valentine’s Day, or that it commodifies love, I don’t really care. Valentine's Day is sweet, and opportunities to express love can feel rare. I’ll take them where they come. This isn’t a defense of Valentine’s Day in so much as it’s a defense of feeling your feelings. If Valentine’s Day makes you feel like shit, then find your friends and make a plan to either wallow in that feeling or avoid it. (Both are their own form of pleasure.) If you think it’s an opportunity for you and your partner to spend more on dinner than usual and fuck a little longer than usual, then please have at. If you're single and DGAF about being in a relationship and are spending the night doing whatever makes you happy, that's amazing, too. Days hold the kinds of meanings we want to ascribe to them. So, for Valentine’s Day, like all days, my approach is, You do you.

In recognition of the different feels one can feel, here are three mini-playlists to accommodate three kinds of feelings about romantic love: Love is the best, love is the worst and love is complicated. Enjoy yourself, and maybe eat some chocolate. (Or wait until they’re half off at Duane Reade come Sunday).

Love is the best

Adding "Got to Get You Into My Life" as a bonus track, since the original isn't available on Spotify but is also totally how new love feels:

Love is the worst

Another Beatles bonus track because "And Your Bird Can Sing" is about being rejected but having a very FTW attitude about it, which is perfect:

Love is complicated

(Yes, this is the song that best expresses it and thus gets its own category, OK?)

Katie McDonough

Katie McDonough is Salon's politics writer, focusing on gender, sexuality and reproductive justice. Follow her on Twitter @kmcdonovgh or email her at

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Love Love Is Complicated Love Is The Best Love Is The Worst Video