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BLACK SUNDAY SET LIST
By Cheryl Mullen - 02/07/2010 - 12:19 PM EST

The ol’ calendar on the wall is telling me that it’s that time of year again. It’s almost February 14—or as I prefer to call it, Black Sunday.

This piece is dedicated to those who do not experience the hormonal/sugar-induced warm and fuzzy bliss at this time of year. It is for those who believe as I do that Satan, in conjunction with Hallmark, has twisted and corrupted this day into a vehicle to drive up card and flower sales, to give men yet ANOTHER date on the calendar to feel guilty about forgetting (just what you need, right guys?), and to chip away at the self-worth of any woman not in possession of a recently used vagina.

With this in mind, I present to you my anti-Valentine set list.

Nick Lowe—I Trained Her to Love Me

Amy Rigby—Keep It to Yourself: Will some deejay PLEASE play these two songs back to back? Pretty please? They go together like a fine red wine and a perfectly sizzled filet mignon. The Nick Lowe song is written from the point of view of a heartless bastard who toys with women’s emotions simply because he can, and it could be argued that the Amy Rigby tune was written from the point of view of a woman who had been toyed with by the heartless bastard in Nick Lowe’s song. Of course, it would have to be a public radio deejay who plays these songs together, since neither of these artists stands a chance in hell of being played on commercial radio, but I digress. Speaking of Nick Lowe…

Nick Lowe—Homewrecker: John Edwards can send this one out to his mistresses now that his wife has sent him packing. Betty White was on one of those entertainment tabloid shows recently and she commented that she was probably the only woman in America who hadn’t slept with either John Edwards or Tiger Woods. I never thought I would actually have something in common with Betty White. And I never thought it would be so depressing. Speaking of Nick Lowe and depressing…

Elvis Costello—No Action: I could have picked pretty much anything from his early catalogue. But I had this song on my brain because I was recently listening to the Muffs’ cover of it. Living proof that lack of love has no gender boundaries. Speaking of musical geeks…

Jonathan Coulton—Future Soon: This song gives hope to any geek (current or former) who’s made the mistake of falling for someone way too cool for him/her. It’s dedicated in particular to a certain geek friend of mine who endured a breakup not too long ago. And for the record, there’s no animosity intended here toward his ex, with whom he’s still on civilized terms. No names, he knows who he is. J Jonathan Coulton is the musical patron saint of geeks everywhere. Speaking of JoCo…

Paul & Storm—Your Love Is: Paul & Storm were once part of the now-defunct a cappella group Da Vinci’s Notebook, and have since become the honorary bastard stepchildren of JoCo, as they now open for him at nearly all of his shows. This song is just bitterness. Pure, witty, hilarious bitterness. Speaking of now-defunct a cappella witty bitterness…

Sean Altman—Unhappy Anniversary: Just about any song Sean Altman wrote while he was in between marriages would have sufficed, but I chose this one for all the divorced folks out there. Sean’s story has a happy ending, but I’m not going to tell it here because if you’re still reading this far into the piece, you’re probably too bitter and jaded to want to hear about it.  Speaking of stuff you can’t bear…

Julia Fordham—More Than I Can Bear: She tells the story onstage much better than I’m about to do, but basically…Once upon a time she had this boyfriend. One day she came home from touring to find that the boyfriend had been bumping nasties with one of her female friends. Ugliness, heartbreak, and this song ensued. It’s wonderful when artists can channel their pain and create great art out of it, and she did a fine job of it here. But there can be a fine line between channeling your pain into art and wallowing in your pain longer than you should because you hope to get more art out of it. Speaking of fine lines and wallowing in your pain…

Evanesence—My Immortal: Perfect for when love has just kicked you to the curb and you can’t decide whether to slit your wrists, drunk-dial the object of your misery, or just scarf another bag of M’n’Ms. Go ahead, pull the shades down and stay in bed with all the lights turned off. I’ll even give you permission to paint your nails black. And when you’re ready to crawl out of your psychological cave…

Cher—Believe: For when you reach what Matt Groening calls the “Wounded But Alive” stage. Because you were too good for that loser anyway. And finally…

Patty Loveless—A Thousand Times a Day: Because no anti-love set list would be complete without at least one cry-in-your-beer country tune. Besides, you know what you get when you play country music backwards? You get your job back, you get your spouse back, you get your truck back, you get your trailer back, you get your dog back…

I’ll be observing Black Sunday by dimming the lights, slipping into something comfortable, and getting cozy under the covers with my two favorite men—Ben & Jerry. I’ll also have my radio tuned to “Sound Opinions”, a nationally-syndicated music talk show brought to us by the fine folks at Chicago Public Radio and American Public Media. I had the privilege of being interviewed this week by hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot on the very subject of this piece—songs to “set the mood” for this day. As I write this I have no idea if my bit (which lasted maybe 2 minutes total) will air. I have a feeling it might be cut or at least somewhat edited because I dared to use the V-word (and I don’t mean Valentine). I’ll be listening the weekend of February 14 along with the rest of you to find out. But even I don’t make it on the air, it was a pleasure to be able to speak with them. You can go to their website to see if there’s a station near you that airs the program, or you can download it from their archives.

And remember folks, it’s only one lousy day out of the year!




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