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 V.21 No.6 | February 9 - 15, 2012 

Aural Fixation

Heart Set

Songs about love, loss and lust

Love is a many-splendored thing, and music reflects this complexity. Songs are written about first love, obsessive love, unrequited love, heartbreak and so on. Whether you consider Valentine’s Day a silly Hallmark holiday or a nice annual summit on the true meaning of the L word, here's an eclectic soundtrack that ranges from torch songs to tortured ballads. Raunch, romance and resentment are represented in this sonic valentine.

1) “Web of Love” • Joi Lansing • “Scopitone: S-1057”

Queen of Scopitones gets ensnared. Best experienced in Scopitone video form:

2) “I'd Love to Take Orders From You” • Mildred Bailey • A Date With John Waters

A submissive selection from the Pope of Trash's Valentine's mixtape.

3) “Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder” • Boyd Rice • The Way I Feel

Boyd's duet with Tiffany Anders doesn't exactly inspire couple confidence.

4) “Johnny Remember Me” • John Leyton • “Johnny Remember Me / There Must Be” 7-inch

Joe Meek-produced death ditty about a haunting love.

5) “I'm Straight” • The Modern Lovers • Troublemakers

Jonathan Richman woos a hippie's girl.

6) “I Want You” • Elvis Costello & The Attractions • “I Want You / I Hope You're Happy” 7-inch

The rawly voiced refrain on this concert staple is swoon-worthy.

7) “Love Like Anthrax” • Gang of Four • “Damaged Goods”

Post-punk tune comparing love to biological warfare.

8) “Love Comes in Spurts” • Richard Hell & the Voidoids • Blank Generation

Richard Hell wails on the sporadic, painful nature of love.

9) “I Am a Scientist” • Guided by Voices • Bee Thousand

Dig the four-track version of this metaphor-laden song.

10) “There Is a Light That Never Goes Out ” • The Smiths • The Queen Is Dead

“And if a 10-ton truck kills the both of us / To die by your side, well, the pleasure, the privilege, is mine.”

11) “I'll Be Your Mirror” • The Velvet Underground & Nico • The Velvet Underground & Nico

Restrained vocals and genuinely romantic lyrics make this one a keeper.

12) “Coral Kiss” • Pain Teens • Beast of Dreams

Bliss Blood and multi-instrumentalist Scott Ayers meditate on love bites.

13) “Fever” • Marine Girls • Lazy Ways

Short-lived Hertfordshire post-punk quartet channels Peggy Lee.

14) “Why Don't We Do It in the Road?” • Clint Ruin & Lydia Lunch • “Don't Fear the Reaper”

No wave chanteuse Lunch and Clint Ruin (Foetus) do The Beatles.

15) “In Every Dream Home a Heartache” • Roxy Music • For Your Pleasure

“I blew up your body, but you blew my mind.”

16) “No Escape” • Cabaret Voltaire • Mix-Up

The Sheffield industrial icon’s distorted, melodic interpretation of The Seeds.

17) “Vermilion Kisses” • Barry Adamson • Oedipus Schmoedipus

Spoken-word fairy tale darkness from the inimitable Mr. Adamson.

Listen to this compilation in its amorous entirety at

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