February 13, 2003

From the Horse's Mouth

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Tango ’til Valentine’s sore

Flowers perish and candy leaves a bad aftertaste, but a good Valentine’s Day record is a gift that keeps on giving. A record shows that you’re caring and thoughtful; says all the things flowers are too dumb to utter; shows originality; and most importantly allows you to impose your musical taste on your loved one without seeming forceful. So let’s go over some basic strategies for picking a Valentine’s Day record.

The Tried and True — Play it safe and go for a record no one could dislike. If it worked for mom and dad, it won’t backfire too severely. Patsy Cline, Van Morrison, or even a good jolt of Sinatra will do. Although beware, you’re entering into the realm of childhood memories and might be uncovering some dark secrets. Nothing more unpleasant than musical reminders of authoritative fists flying.

The Beautiful Loser — An attempt to express your sensitivity through record is a tricky affair. Don’t go overboard. Your partner knows how emotionally fragile you can be. There is no need to document this. Stay away from any record that is too wussy. And yes, Belle and Sebastien fall headfirst into that category. Give ’em a little sunshine with the clouds. Or they might finally toss you in the “too sensitive” bin along with your favorite Bright Eyes record. In that case, good for them.

The Hasty Eddy/ Sleazy Lizzy — Thoughts about sex go through the mind of anyone on Valentine’s Day, and your loved one doesn’t need you to jackhammer it home. So don’t get that Broad or Brad a record that simply screams of your biological needs. Be subtle. Be inventive. Avoid records like D’Angelo’s Voodoo, Peaches’ The Teaches of Peaches, Marvin Gaye’s Let’s Get it On. Great records, terrible timing. Nothing sadder than a soul alone in a bed surrounded by used tissues listening to D’Angelo. Instead choose a beautiful classical record, or Sketches of Spain.

How cool are they, really? — This one involves testing your mate. Tell ’em you got a record for them, but it needs to be put on at just the right moment. When the ovens are heated and you’re about to groove, throw on your surprise. Make sure it shocks them — Captain Beefheart’s Trout Mask Replica is a classic antidote to romance. Some Krautrock or an early Mr. Bungle record are also good. If your love doesn’t throw you out, you can be sure of a fruitful future of pulling similarly hilarious stunts.

Peace, “the dark horse”

Archived article by Maxim Pozdorovkin