B.S.

Guide to Ruining Every Valentine’s Day Playlist

You can reclaim every terrible rom-com and love song from romantic saps if you follow this guide to setting the right cynical mood.

Deviant Art: sternsch

Saint Valentine never gave a shit about the marriage of young lovers.

And since he's been headless for 2,000 years, he certainly doesn't care about those of us who will die alone and half blind from binging Netflix in the dark while drowning our sorrows in Orange Vanilla Diet Coke. Hollywood has already sullied the Valentine name — for both of the men named Valentine who were randomly executed by Romans before we based this irrelevant holiday on them — by creating monstrously bad plots about unrealistic relationships and daring to say "#goals."

So rather than wasting energy on an "anti-Valentine" stance, why not fully lean into this wretch of a holiday with the most cliche entries on every watchlist and playlist in existence? You just have to set the right kind of mood to enjoy their absurdity. Here are the top seven ways to spend Valentine's Day when you'd rather die alone than learn to tolerate a lover's back sweat:

1.WATCH: When Harry Met Sally

YouTube

WHILE...trimming your cat's nails. Just because it's an outdated and formulaic rom-com doesn't mean you can't still enjoy this slice of bubble gum cinema without shame! Just be sure to appreciate that life is also terror and blind panic — unless you also live in a movie featuring well-maintained college friendships and successful careers immediately after graduating.

2. LISTEN: "You Belong to Me" by Patsy Cline

The Art Stack

THEN...call your dad for the first time since finishing college, but play Simon & Garfunkel's "Sound of Silence" into the phone without saying a word. Because life is about balance.

3. WATCH: Pretty Woman

Hollywood.com

WHILE...working from home just to wait for the plumber to come by "between 12 and 6 PM" on a week day. After two days of rescheduling, the company will call to confirm your name, and you'll channel Julia Roberts: "What do you want it to be — come fix my fucking sink!"

4. LISTEN: "Thinking Out Loud" by Ed Sheeran

IMDB

WHILE... setting fire to an ex's house. Lyrics that say, "Kiss me under the light of a thousand stars / Place your hand on my beating heart" sound like a survival anthem if there ever was one.

(DISCLAIMER: We at Popdust do not condone arson in any shape or form. Please note that "arson," as defined by New York State, is the "intentional damage to a building or motor vehicle by causing an explosion or a fire" and is a felony under the law.

(We also don't condone listening to Ed Sheeran).

5. WATCH: The Wedding Singer

E! News

WHILE...Nothing. Drew Barrymore is goddamn delightful.

6. LISTEN: "I Have Nothing" by Whitney Houston

Netflix

THEN...watch the Netflix documentary Tent City, U.S.A. It's about a homeless community in Nashville, Tennessee where people have nothing. Houston's lovely lyric, "Stay in my arms if you dare," is probably what inhabitants told each other while the local authorities attempted to tear the compound down. What? Not everything is about you and your lonely life.

7. WATCH: Titanic

Dexati

WHILE...guessing Rose's age. How old is Jack? Are they teenagers? Maybe it's for the best; they would've ended up on Teen Mom. It would've been a matter of time before Rose stopped finding class differences sexy, anyway.


Meg Hanson is a Brooklyn-based writer, teacher and jaywalker. Find Meg at her website and on Twitter @megsoyung.


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Ed Sheeran is Headed to Court

Ed Sheeran could lose up to $100 million for allegedly plagiarizing Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get it On."

NBC News

Ed Sheeran — a wedding singer who seemingly won a Faustian contest of mediocrity that elevated him to super-stardom — is facing legal trouble.

Given his repetitive songwriting and greasy "dude, let me copy your homework" vibe, it doesn't come as much of a surprise that he may or may not dabble in plagiarism.

On Friday, a US judge rejected Sheeran's call for the court to drop a legal case accusing him of copying parts of Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get It On." District Judge Louis Stanton said he found "substantial similarities between several of the two works' musical elements." Now, the case will go before a jury to be decided. According to the BBC, "The action has been brought against Sheeran, Sony/ATV Music Publishing and Atlantic Records by the estate and heirs of the late producer Ed Townsend, who co-wrote Let's Get It On with Gaye." The suit states that Sheeran and his co-writers "copied and exploited, without authorization or credit, the 'Let's Get it On' composition," copying various elements "including but not limited to the melody, rhythms, harmonies, drums, bass line, backing chorus, tempo, syncopation, and looping." They're asking for $100 million in damages.

Hollywood Reporter

The song in question is Sheeran's 2014 number-one hit, "Thinking Out Loud," a love song so generic that it could have been written about any human being that ever lived as a musical product of any time period since the invention of the guitar. If you listen to "Let's Get It On" and "Thinking Out Loud" in quick succession, you're not struck by their similarities, but by the extraordinary contrast between the two songs. Marvin Gayes' song is a timeless, soulful masterpiece; while, in comparison, Sheeran's song seems like a tepid lament from a Tinder date who's just tired of going to the movies by himself.

However, if you can look past the disparity in quality between the two hits, you may recognize a few familiar moments in Sheeran's song, as the two songs share many of the same chord progressions and have a similar groove. However, as Power Station Studio's Audio Engineer Joshua Taylor put it to Popdust, "90% of pop songs are written at basically the same tempo and all use the same two or three chord progressions, so really cases like this have to be about the melody" — which means that it's unlikely that these similarities are enough to validly claim plagiarism, since the songs are melodically very different.

Unfortunately for everyone's favorite lazy-eyed Raggedy Andy, when a case like this goes in front of a jury, the facts of musical composition tend to lose importance. For example, in 2015, Gaye's estate won $5.3 million after a jury decided Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams' 2013 hit "Blurred Lines" infringed upon Marvin Gaye's 1977 composition "Got to Give It Up." As Variety puts it, "Jurors in such cases are rarely musical experts and similarities based on gut — or as the 'Blurred Lines' decision put it, 'feel' — instead of musical notation can carry the day."

That and Ed Sheeran's case have raised concerns throughout the music industry about who should be allowed to decide questions of musical plagiarism, as the lack of musical expertise among the average jury leaves artists open to possibly undeserved legal prosecution. After all, should Ed Sheeran really be punished for making indistinct, soulless music that sounds like every other song you've ever heard?


Brooke Ivey Johnson is a Brooklyn based writer, playwright, and human woman. To read more of her work visit her blog or follow her twitter @BrookeIJohnson.


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