As anyone who has turned on the radio from November to December knows, Christmas music is its own genre. Still, it’s not the only holiday to come with its own music: Even Halloween has a few spooky songs dedicated to the holiday. Valentine’s Day, on the other hand, is seriously lacking when it comes to themed music. Sure, there’s Frank Sinatra’s “My Funny Valentine,” Jim Brickman and Martina McBride’s “Valentine,” and, of course, Bruce Springsteen’s “Valentine’s Day,” and that’s basically the entire list.
One reason Valentine’s Day as a genre never quite took off is because February 14 is already associated with love, and love songs are, well, most of the songs. What these songs fail to realize is that Valentine’s Day can mean something different to everyone. In the absence of one-size-fits-all music, we’ve created three separate playlists for February 14, each dependent on your V-Day vibe.
For some, the holiday is about celebrating yet another milestone in their relationship, and cheesy tunes about romance are welcome. Taylor Swift’s “Lover” may mention Christmas lights, but come on — you know that Swift goes all-out with her Valentine’s Day decor, too.
If Valentine’s Day is an excuse to hit the town with friends and indulge in some specialty beverages (a chocolate martini, maybe an Elle Woods-level pink Cosmo), pop anthems that celebrate living one’s best life are preferred. Ariana Grande’s “7 rings” is an obvious critical addition to the playlist, but don’t sleep on a deeper cut off Selena Gomez’s new album Rare, either.
If you’re like many who loathe the forced heart motifs in shop windows and aggressively sappy Hallmark cards, February 14 can be the perfect day to bask in all things anti-romance. A playlist of anti-love songs can be the ideal antidote to all the cuteness. Halsey’s darker songs are ideal; “You Should Be Sad” may feature some of the most cutting lyrics ever spewed at an ex.
Happy listening, lovers.