17 Anti-Valentine’s Day songs for the cynic in your life

Had enough of the mushy stuff? This is for you.

Valentine’s Day isn’t for everyone – neither are love songs, actually – so here, for everyone that objects to all the adverts about sentimental tat, is a playlist full of songs designed to poke holes in the Valentine’s tradition. An Anti-Valentine’s Day playlist, if you will. Sit back and enjoy, cynics! We wuv you too <3

1. Robyn – ‘Dancing On My Own’

Mope factor: 5
lyric: “I’m giving it my all / but I’m not the girl you’re taking home

A sadbanger for the ages, this. In 2016 Robyn’s most outstanding track was given a morose and incredibly popular makeunder – we were quite literally scratching our heads – by Britain’s Got Talent contestant called Calum Scott. Robyn’s version is of course way better, mixing as it does the pain of rejection with a defiance and sense of opportunity that Scott’s version completely overlooks.


2. Salen – ‘Heartbreak Diet’

Mope factor: 0
lyric: “I am done with sticky people / They’re too hard to pick out of my teeth

One of the best tracks of 2017 was also a chirpy anti-Valentine’s song inspired by @textsfromyourex – it compares kisses to cola, and exes that won’t quit to gelatinous sweets stuck in your teeth. On an unrelated note – your dentist will bloody love this song.


3 . Ryan Adams – ‘Love Is Hell’

Mope factor: 3
lyric: God, what have I been drinking?

On which Mr Adams can’t decide whether he’s really interested or not.


4. Public Image Ltd – ‘(This Is Not) A Love Song’

Mope factor: 0
Key lyric: 
This is not a love song

Fairly self-explanatory: this was a response to PIL’s label asking for hits on their fourth album ‘This Is What You Want… This Is What You Get’. This is what they got.

5. Beyoncé – ‘Sorry’

Mope factor: 4
Key lyric:Suck on my balls

The narrative of the wronged woman on ‘Lemonade’ bursts into flame with ‘Sorry’ – it’s the ‘Fuck you’ part of the infidelity story. Bey’s line “I ain’t thinking ’bout you” is sort of paradoxical – she must be thinking about him a bit in order to say that she isn’t, and that means she’s not totally invulnerable – but the sentiment is there. Middle fingers up!

6. The Smiths – ‘I Know It’s Over’

Mope factor: 8
Key lyric: Love is natural and real / But not for such as you and I, my love

Breaking up is hard: this funereal cut from ‘The Queen Is Dead’ aims to teach acceptance. They didn’t deserve you anyway…

7. Mac DeMarco – ‘Ode To Viceroy’

Mope factor: 0
Key lyrics: Oh, honey, I’ll smoke you ’til I’m dying

This is a love song, yes, but the recipient of the Canadian’s adoration is not a human person: it is a brand of cigarettes he was once unfaithful to. Now they’re back together. What a beautifully toxic relationship.

8. Crystal Castles – ‘Not In Love’

Mope factor: 4
Key lyric:
We were lovers / Now we can’t be friends

Crystal Castles’ cover of Platinum Blonde’s song was also reworked to feature vocals by The Cure’s Robert Smith, but somehow the pitch-shifted vocals on this version feel more appropriate here.

9. Carly Rae Jepsen – ‘Boy Problems’

Mope factor: 1
Key lyric: So tired of hearing all your boy problems”

Sia helped Jepsen write this upbeat tune about ruining your friendships with boring-as-fuck relationship chat. It culminates with the rather amusing lines “I think I broke up with my boyfriend today and I don’t really care / I’ve got worse problems“.

10. Soft Cell – ‘Tainted Love’

Mope factor: 6
Key lyric: I love you though you hurt me so /Now I’m going to pack my things and go

Thinking about escaping a toxic relationship? ‘Tainted Love’ will guide you to freedom.

11. Natasha Bedingfield – ‘Single’

Mope factor: -23
Key lyric: I’m not waitin’ around for a man to save me

2004: a simpler time. A few years after her brother Daniel had smashed the charts with the comparatively whiny ‘Gotta Get Thru This’, Natasha did the same with this anthem about the perks of singledom.

12. Charli XCX – ‘Breaking Up’

Mope factor: 0
Key lyrics: “Everything was wrong with you / So breaking up was easy to do

If you’ve ever had an ex you looked back on and thought: “What the hell was I doing?”, you’ll relate to this. It’s brutal: “You had an ugly tattoo, and fucking cheap perfume / You couldn’t dance, barely moved, I didn’t know what to do“. Embarro.

13. The Weeknd – ‘Secrets’

Mope factor: 6
Key lyric: It’s a lie / I catch you every time / In your lust / Every time you close your eyes

This Chillwave-y cut from The Weeknd’s third album ‘Starboy’ is about a relationship with 0% trust, and most scientists agree that’s quite a lot less trust than relationships need.

14. Tom Waits – ‘Blue Valentines’

Mope factor: 10
Key lyric: “
They’re insisting that our love must have a eulogy

The valentines in this song are flowers sent to Waits by an ex. The tears on your cheek as you listen are yours, reminding you to never love again.

15. Jack White – ‘Love is Blindness’

Mope factor: 5
Key lyric: Love is blindness / I don’t want to see

Jack White beefs up U2’s track with a massive guitar solo and his signature screech. It’s love as a terrifying, destructive force: handle with care.

16. The Antlers – ‘I Don’t Want Love’

Mope factor: 10
lyric: “I should have built better walls / Or slept in my clothes
This is a bit like Soft Cell’s ‘Tainted Love’ in its message – but you definitely can’t dance to it.

17. Vampire Weekend – ‘I Think Ur A Contra’

Mope factor: 4
Key lyric: We’ve both made up our minds / You’re going to watch out for yourself and so will I

Relationship under pressure due to your inexorably diverging world views? ‘I Think Ur A Contra’ is the song 4U!