By Gus Nations IV, Staff Writer
If my tenure as a Newswire staff writer has proven anything, it’s that I’m not exactly much of a Valentine’s Day person. I think I actually referred to myself as “the Grinch of Valentine’s Day” in a piece I wrote for the Back Page a couple years ago.
Since then, however, I’ve turned my attention as a journalist towards writing music reviews, covering water fountains and reporting on other obscure Xavier-isms. As a result, my deep-rooted and possibly irrational animosity for the holiday has gone relatively unexplored.
And it likely would’ve remained unexplored, but, fortunately for me, the stars aligned in a big way the other night as I was swiping through Apple Music. There, in the “browse” section of the app, sat the “Me and Bae” playlist. On the cover were two sparkly, animated emojis — one was blowing a kiss, and the other was sticking out its tongue.
A little further investigation revealed that there’s a whole sub-genre of curated playlists designed specifically for Valentine’s Day. Jackpot.What better way to reassess my hatred for the holiday than by writing a music review?
The first playlist I listened to was the aforementioned “Me and Bae.” Maybe I’m out of touch, but since when does a song called “Toxic” belong on a romantic playlist? Or “Mood Swings”? Isn’t that completely the opposite of the desired outcome for a day like Valentine’s Day?
On any other day of the year, fighting might be allowed, but it’s strange to talk about toxicity on a holiday meant to celebrate love. All the rest of the songs involved varying levels of horniness, so between arguing and thirsting, I’d say Apple Music missed the mark.
Next, I listened to the “New Crush” playlist. The first song was “Adore You” by Harry Styles. OK, a little better, I guess, but I wouldn’t recommend telling a new crush that I adored her right away. A few songs after “Adore You” was “Girls Like You” by Maroon 5. I don’t really think I have to point out the issue with including Adam Levine on a playlist about crushes — maybe if his DMs were more eloquent. Again, unconvincing. Zero for two, Apple Music.
Finally, in a last-ditch attempt to change my opinion, I listened to “Falling in Love.” This playlist succeeded where the others failed; all you have to do is include Bruno Mars! “Marry Me”? Classic. “Just the Way You Are”? Revolutionary. John Legend’s “All of Me” was a staple at my eighth-grade school dances and listening to it brought back just the right amount of nostalgia. Frank Ocean even made an appearance with “Thinkin Bout You.” Minimal toxicity, maximum tastefulness. Just what I needed.
Well, the jury is still out about Valentine’s Day, but I think I’ve been convinced to drop my moniker of “The Grinch.”
If anyone sees me with a box of chocolates in my hand over the course of the next week, just know that it’s for research purposes. I think I’m going to have to listen to some more Bruno Mars until I figure things out.