who cares about valentine’s day? i certainly don’t, and i haven’t for pretty much most of my adult life. but you know what i DO care about? music and love songs and heartbreak and the crazy, weird shit that happens with all of that glorious mess. i see y’alls cute posts about valentine’s day on the social media and you know what? i am a lover not a hater and it’s cool. it’s also totally cool if you hate it! i think pre-packaged love is pretty lame but hey, we’re all flawed human beings who have no idea how to truly express ourselves most of the time. candy hearts are a good ice breaker, right?
you know what i think about every valentine’s day? it’s not chocolate or flowers or fuzzy pink handcuffs on sale at the 7-eleven. nor do i think about the shifts i worked at mediocre restaurants years ago, seeing couples fumble through uncomfortable dinners while blaming their misery on the people serving them food. every year, i think about seeing sebadoh on valentine’s day, 1995. in the 90s, sebadoh was my go-to for those rip-your-heart-out killer love songs. and “soul and fire” is by far one the best ever.
as the opening track on the album “bubble & scrape”, it’s perfection. even as i write this, i am listening to the album, after singing along with that opener thrice this morning. i’ll likely do it again before i finish writing!
i got turned on to the band by friends who played their albums while we smoked cigarettes and drew on walls and awkwardly flirted while talking about our dreams and crushes. the whole album is the pinnacle of that uncomfortable comfort in mutual like in my mind. i remember as if it was yesterday the time this cute boy put his headphones over my ears as he put on “think (let tomorrow bee)” and i felt a thousand different things rushing through my body. we didn’t even kiss that day. not yet, anyway.
so yeah, valentine’s day 1995. dallas, texas. the bakesale tour. i was nineteen, almost twenty years old and i was ready to sing my heart out along with lou barlow. i spent so many hours figuring out how to play their songs by ear that i was so excited to see their techniques in person. lou was wearing this awesome white tee shirt that said “HARDCORE” across the front. at one point during the show, he had a heart-shaped box of chocolates that he chucked into the crowd. i screamed with delight because i was nineteen and so confused about love and i got to sing my guts out to “not too amused.” it was one of my favorite music memories ever. i also vividly remember a guy in the crowd with just as much gusto who yelled “skull!” between every song until they indeed, played “skull” and we were so happy. we danced and sang every word and jumped up and down.
who needs valentine’s day when there’s sebadoh? i put together all the songs i have mentioned plus a few other favorites from the 90s for your pleasure. ❤