On Valentine’s Day, I often feel like an alien. I don’t go for the poor pitiful look, nor do I scoff at the love parade of happy-faced others, but I know what it’s like to be alone on V-Day. Hell, for most of my adult years I’ve spent the holiday alone, busy distracting myself. Doesn’t really work. Then one year, a friend and I, we were both single and feeling romantic so we decided to each buy a dozen red roses. Then we walked around Los Angeles and as we wandered on our merry way we handed out long-stemmed red roses to women we met.
We gave a rose to any woman who looked sad or blue and we felt might appreciate a romantic gesture from a stranger. Young or old, it didn’t matter. It was an epically good day for us because we got to see so many faces light up. And we meant it. We weren’t sleazy about it. We just wanted to brighten their days, mostly, because we also felt lonely. To spend a few hours making twenty four strangers grin was like an orgy of good feeling for us.
This year, I’ll be at 36,000 feet, flying over the Heartland, unable to hand out flowers. But since I’m still alone on yet another Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d try to spread some smiles to some of my people, the broken hearts, the lonely hearts, the unlucky loners out there. Instead of flowers, I give you a dozen music videos from the French chanteuse, Soko.
She’s the perfect person to spend Valentine’s Day with because she’s all about romance and longing and the many hues and shades of love. Also, she knows heartbreak and loneliness. If you feel alone, or feel like sadness is swallowing you whole, or maybe anger’s burning through you, or anxious loneliness is gnawing on your insides, or if you’re just on a bad one and need to feel an emotional connection with someone who gets it, someone who feels things as deeply as you do, well, my friends, these musical roses are for you. Enjoy!
1. I’ll Kill Her
The song is pure boss bitch style and the title says it all. Feeling jealous, Soko threatens (rather beautifully) to kill her romantic rival.
2. We Might Be Dead By Tomorrow
Don’t know about you but I sure do miss sunlit kisses. Pasta-slurping kisses in moments of kitchen silliness. Underwater skinny-dipping kisses. Laughing shower-spitting kisses. This video will make your heart soar if you have someone to kiss, and it’ll make it ache if you don’t. Shot like a sunny daydream affair of two lovers in Los Angeles enjoying each other, the video is full of long wordless stares that impregnate you with the warm feelings of afternoon love. The montage of them kissing melts me like butter on a hot biscuit.
3. It’s Not Going To Work
Recording in a cemetery, Soko sings about desire, and she discovers the sad undeniable truth that sometimes desire just ain’t enough. One of Soko’s greatest gifts as a songwriter and as a performer is how she can make raw sexual lyrics shine golden and sweet like honey.
4. Destruction Of The Disgusting Ugly Hate
This is one of her darkest songs. (Trigger warning: This video opens with some unsettling shots of her slapping herself while staring into a mirror.) Yet, the song is worth a gander because it’s defiantly, musically upbeat and it’s visually stunning and fun to watch.
5. I’ve Been Alone Too Long
Title says it all. Alone and standing against the setting sun at Joshua Tree National Park, Soko aches so softly only the empty still desert is an appropriate stage. Her father passed away when she was very young. It was a seminal event in her life and the loss shapes her artwork and her heart. Sometimes, as she’s singing, it feels as if beauty, love and death dance and swirl around her like imaginary childhood playmates.
6. No More Home, No More Love
Moving on ain’t easy. Doesn’t matter if you’re leaving a person or your home. This video steps inside Soko’s life, literally inside her home as she packs up her house in EchoPark (in Los Angeles). Our open-hearted little French singer takes fate in her hands, once more. Love and home are gone. It seems she has no choice but to go.
“You’re always stronger when you’re young,
I’ll just have to learn it all again”
7. It’s Hard To Be Alone
On a stack of hay bales, playing for a child, performing live, Soko sings about a great truth of life that the child is lucky enough to not yet know. But we adults know how hard it is to be alone. If you are today, and it feels like slow aching death, trust that Soko and I, we both feel ya. And you never know what tomorrow might bring. So just get your ass through today.
8. Treat Your Woman Right
This one’s a sad song – a spurned woman’s lament about how her selfish lover mistreated her. If you’ve been wronged, this rose is for you.
9. First Loves Never Die
From a performance on French tv, Soko and an accompanying band play this slow, low, song about how first loves may go but they never die. This rose is for first loves.
10. My Wet Dreams
Sometimes you can’t be with the one you want. But that doesn’t mean you can’t be with them in your dreams. This one’s a fun, funny song about how it feels when you wake up wet. And the song goes on from there, exploring the wants, needs and wetness of desire.
“I Love your dick!”
11. Goodbye Paris
Loving and leaving a city can often be just as devastating as leaving a lover. If this Valentine’s Day you feel the ache of a place more than a person … this rose is for you.
12. I Just Want To Make It New With You
For the last one, we’re going out with one of my faves of her new songs.
The bassline is infectious. The attitude is rock-n-roll. The theme is love. The lyrics are golden. And the song is perfect Soko. It has that now familiar ache, only this time it’s for a love that’s not yet here. This song is capture that moment when new love glimmers with the wet dewy freshness of a dawning day. Who knows? Maybe, by this time next year, you’ll be sniffing real roses.
For now, this last rose of a song is for you.
“Together we will learn to make everything new”
Soko is currently prepping a new album. So, if you’re just learning about her, keep an ear to the ground because she should have new music for you very soon.
Happy Valentine’s Day!