Mind Of Man: Now Playing — Crappy Love Songs

I just can’t emotionally or physically connect with a woman unless there is some kind of terrible music playing.

When it comes to love and romance, timing is everything. There is so little choice when it comes to the fickle demands of your heart. And it’s the same with the music that serves as the soundtrack of your life. The songs you fall in love with pick you, not the other way around. There’s a reason the mythical symbol of love is a creepy flying baby who capriciously shoots arrows at random people, coupling them up. He is a stupid, bitter man-baby eternally blighted with an infants diddle.

Every great, or near great, affair you’ve ever had is accompanied, scored, really, by a piece of music that when you listen to it years later, immediately conjures up smells, whispers, and forgotten rushes of blood to the head.

This isn’t the same for breakup songs, which you must seek out. Hello! “Against All Odds (Take A Look At Me Now)” by Phil Collins? When the wounds of heartbreak must be salved, it’s an easy task to find the tunes that make it all better, if but for a moment.

Be they angry or sympathetic, most country music, or rather, the best country music, is about the one that got away.

Of course, breakup songs, and love songs, have nothing to do with knocking-boots tunes. Sex music is exclusively Al Green, Portishead, Nine Inch Nails, Biggie.

Music and love go together like marshmallow fluff and peanut butter. It’s the truth.

Every great, or near great, affair you’ve ever had is accompanied, scored, really, by a piece of music that when you listen to it years later, immediately conjures up smells, whispers, and forgotten rushes of blood to the head.

Except that I always seem to be served the musical equivalent of Hamburger Helper. Maybe I’m extremely vulnerable to suggestion, but if I’m in the advanced stages of hooking up, I’m prone to attaching whatever song is wafting about to my heightened emotional state. I bond to music the way an orphaned duckling bonds to whatever is walking around.

Here’s a brief example. She was my biggest crush in college, and we were hanging out in a rioting bar. It took three beers to work up the courage to put my hand around her waist, and she knew that, which was why she met me halfway as I sheepishly leaned in for a kiss. Her lips tasted like watermelon Jolly Ranchers, and the way her tongue lightly brushed my lower lip turned my nerve endings into blinking Christmas lights. As I pulled her closer to me, I suddenly heard: “She’s got the peaches/I got the cream/Sweet to taste/Saccharine.”

From that perfect moment in a college bar until this day, Def Leppard’s cheesy, perennial strip-club anthem “Pour Some Sugar On Me” reminds me of love. A song about a diabetic having a fever dream in which he falls for a syrup fetishist defines that moment in time for me. Maybe the dive with the sawdust carpet wasn’t the most romantic locale, but that’s where it happened. Curse you, ironic, late-’90s jukebox.

I swear I have excellent taste in music. My fundamentals are solid: Patsy Cline, Otis Redding, Hendrix, Iggy Pop, Led Zeppellin, New Order. Currently I’m listening to a lot of Mars Volta, Kings of Leon, and The Roots. Don’t judge me for my love songs.

But it gets worse. I dated a woman who I was briefly, intensely infatuated with, and her favorite song, and I am not making this up, was “Tubthumping” by Chumbawamba. That’s a song about vomiting in the streets because you are a raging alcoholic.

And then there was the girlfriend who worshiped Belle & Sebastian. Have you ever listened to Belle & Sebastian? They sound like two emo street waifs trapped in a well.

And it’s not just the twee end of the spectrum that plagues me. It’s also Train and Dave Matthews. Have you ever tried to make out to Foo Fighters? Or attempted romantic nostalgia to Daft Punk? It’s a good thing I don’t regularly listen to Coldplay, because they bring back memories of a fling that for the most part took place in stairwells and alleys. Then there was Death Cab for Cutie Girl. I’m amazed my testicles haven’t withered like yesterday’s birthday balloons.

Why can’t John Legend, Prince, or even Radiohead be playing when I’m forging future happy memories of relationships gone down the toilet? Actually, now that I think about it, I blame women and their crappy taste in music. From here on out, I’m going to chose the jams. When the jams chose me, I’m going to recreate the romantic scene and pump out some quality music.

All I need is some cheap beer, sawdust, Marvin Gaye, and that chick from college. I wonder if she’s divorced yet.