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Man, I hate Friday the 13th. You might too if you’d broken your jaw on it in fifth grade.

Anyway, I think “Happy Valentine’s Day” by Outkast is probably the perfect Valentine’s Day song.  It’s beautiful and yet it’s completely subversive. It’s the kind of song that ends up being sampled and played in the background of all your favorite morning shows while they promise you that “Coming up next, we’re going to show you how to cook the perfect Valentine’s Day meal!” even though the song is about how romance is dead and that the day itself has become kitsch.

The narrator is “Cupid Valentino, the modern day cupid.” His name alone is easily Italian (appropriate considering the location of Olympus) and, by association, sleazy, and definitely hitman-ish. So, according to my stereotyping, we have a narrator who is perfect for this modern era, this era of one-night stands and “hook-ups,” which I put in quotations as if they weren’t real. Cool.

Of course, the Cupid-among-us idea has become the focus of multiple modern television fiascos including the CW’s Valentine and NBC’s upcoming Cupid. Just like in Valentine, “Cupid grabs the pistol./ He shoots straight for your heart/ and he won’t miss you.” I get the sense that, since we can’t find “romance” or “love” defined in any real sense these days, it’s nice to imagine that someone can create real and wholesome love with a simple trigger pull.

But that doesn’t solve the real issue at hand; the chorus deals with how the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus and Groundhogs are more prevalent in popular culture than love. That is to say, Valentine’s Day–a day that’s supposed to celebrate the glory of love and romance–is easily classified as another Hallmark Card day, just another day when you can create all of the emotion associated with that day by purchasing a piece of paper.

Don’t worry, I didn’t forget the verse where Andre switches it up and raps. This might even be the most important part of the song. We have a narrator who’s clearly in love with his “sweet little darlin'” but he can’t tell her. I don’t think that’s a symptom of attempted thug life, just an attempt to not sound crazy. Unadulterated love like in Classic and Disney movies doesn’t exist anymore unless you’re looking for a restraining order. What I mean is, love at first sight and the sweeping romance associated with it seems to have been dead since the early 1940s. Going on a date to get to know someone is generally faux pas, perhaps with the one exception of being in high school or maybe younger. Romance is hanging out with the girl, making out with her, hanging out with her again at a later date until the both of you finally realize, “Hey, maybe we should…I don’t know…be dating?”

Back to the issue at hand though–the song ends with an altered verse, changing the lyrics from “Happy Valentine’s Day” to “Fuck that Valentine’s Day.” This is obviously the part that Good Morning America isn’t sampling but also the part where the subversion is easily most blatant. And now I’m reinforcing blatancy with bluntness and blatancy on my own part. Sigh. The point remains though; as Mr. Valentino works his way through his issues with his own holiday, he comes to realize that his own holiday is dying. R.I.P., romance. You were fun while you were alive.

So that’s why I went down to DUMBO yesterday and picked up a bottle red from some small town in France.  Well, actually, she’s not from there, they just let her use their name because she’s so good. She was $15 and I don’t have to share her with anyone else. As soon as I get off work tomorrow, she and I are gonna spend the night watching movies. Best Valentine’s Day date I think I’ve ever had.

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  1. […] Valentine’s Day” is a song after my own heart. I’ve written about it before, but it’s an appropriate way to start this playlist (and this tradition) for me because on […]

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