By Evan Dunne // Contributing Writer
Photo courtesy of Def Jam
As February reaches its halfway mark, the aroma of love fills the air. However, this aroma tends to be more of a pungent stench for those of us who find ourselves unencumbered by the pangs of romance. Luckily for all you single stags and sisters, we’ve compiled a playlist with which to celebrate your freedom from the constraints of modern relationships and the commercialized mess commonly referred to as Valentine’s Day.
- “Heartless” – Kanye West (2008)
Nothing screams “single pride” like a boastful attitude. In 2008, Hip-hop’s reigning king of arrogance released this pop-driven club banger as the second single for his album 808s & Heartbreak. The thumping instrumental grooves along under Ye’s autotuned croons as he boasts, “You’ll never find nobody better than me.” Exes everywhere can chant along to this statement with confidence, making “Heartless” a perfect jam to celebrate your bachelor or bachelorette status.
- “You Talk Too Much” – George Thorogood (1988)
Let’s all give a big round of applause to Mr. Thorogood for singing what a lot of us were thinking. Not all relationships end because of verbal fights and dishonesty, and this rock and roll boogie encompasses how a culmination of little annoyances can push lovers to the breaking point. While some guitars gently weep, this one gloriously wails behind a wall of horns that make it an ideal tune to shred on your air guitar alone in your bedroom this Valentine’s Day.
- “Tainted Love” – Soft Cell (1981)
If hip-hop and rock don’t suit your musical palate, try out some classic ‘80s synthpop. Soft Cell’s electrifying dance track is a cover of a 1965 soul song, originally recorded by Gloria Jones. It’s nearly impossible not to bob your head and tap your foot as Marc Almond melodically articulates his relationship frustrations over David Ball’s superb instrumentation. However, if you’re feeling a bit angrier about your relationships gone awry, Marilyn Manson’s 2001 industrial metal rendition is an aggressive, great alternative.
- “Irreplaceable” – Beyoncé (2006)
If you find yourself without romantic plans this Valentine’s Day, take a lesson from the Queen B. Beyoncé’s bouncy R&B banger is sassier than a z-snap competition between Nicki Minaj and Queen Latifah. Feeling plagued by thoughts of your ex? “Irreplaceable” will make any lonely soul feel proud to be independent. Didn’t like it and didn’t put a ring on it? Crank this song, channel your inner diva, and sing along. Speaking of having a good sing-along, once Valentine’s Day is over, your kids will want you to start paying them attention again so sit with them and watch some music videos for kids on YouTube.
- “Falling In Love (Is Hard On The Knees)” – Aerosmith (1997)
There’s no reason that single folks shouldn’t be able to celebrate the same holidays as the lovebirds. Belting along to Steven Tyler’s raspy growls in this blues rock jam is a great way to feel like a rock star without being showered in flowers.
- “Love Yourself” – Justin Bieber (2015)
The Biebs recently catapulted back onto the forefront of modern pop music with the release of his fourth studio album Purpose. Unlike many of Bieber’s older, cookie-cutter love songs, “Love Yourself” is a calm, but confident hit with quite a bit more depth than his prior work. Co-written by Ed Sheeran, the song is unabashedly honest, and its infectious, relatable hook serves as a declaration of contentment for those without a significant other.
- “50 Ways To Leave Your Lover” – Paul Simon (1975)
The only number-one hit ever recorded exclusively by Paul Simon takes the complicated topic of ending a relationship and presents it as a simple task. Rather than providing various means of escaping an awful relationship as the title suggests, Paul Simon simply tells the listener to leave their partner. “50 Ways” is an appropriate celebratory song due to its catchy, march-style hook and its equation of being single to being free.
- “I Don’t F— With You” – Big Sean featuring E-40 (2014)
Don’t play this one in front of your mother. Possibly one of the most explicit songs to ever make it onto popular radio, Big Sean’s “I Don’t F— With You” is a vulgar display of single pride. Co-produced by DJ Mustard and Kanye West, this track is in your face and shameless.
- “Go Your Own Way” – Fleetwood Mac (1976)
Released in 1976 as a single for the band’s critically acclaimed album Rumours, this classic rock hit captures the essence of failed relationships. Guitarist Lindsey Buckingham wrote “Go Your Own Way” about his tumultuous relationship with the band’s lead vocalist Stevie Nicks, causing even more turmoil within the group. This Valentine’s Day, find solace in the idea that your full-time job most likely doesn’t involve playing in a band and sleeping on the same tour bus as your ex every night.
- “Bye Bye Bye” – NSYNC (2000)
Many of us were probably too busy attempting to emulate young Justin Timberlake’s gnarly choreography to actually pay attention to the content of this pinnacle of boyband pop. These frosted-tipped, baggy-panted, teen heartthrobs were so fed up with their relationships that they had to reinforce their goodbyes by repeating them not once, not twice, but three times. Bye. Bye. Bye. Talk about really hammering in the message. First, spend a few hours watching early 2000s footage of NSYNC performing this number live and take notes. Next, clear some space for dancing. Finally, let the spirits of Joey Fatone and Lance Bass flow through you as you relish in your single status.