Another bloody Valentine's Day dawns, but don't look to the pop charts for comfort. Between Ashlee Simpson learning to spell "L.O.V.E." and the Black Eyed Peas going all Dr. Seuss with their humps/lumps junk, it's a terrible time to find romance on the radio.
Thankfully, we've got the Internet, with enough sappy love songs, breathless breakup ballads and even odes to onanism to last for years.
The warm-fuzzy holiday requires a concerted dive into the vaults for V-Day satisfaction, the cast of High School Musical be damned. Here are a few love- and lust-themed playlists -- as well as some post-relationship comfort mixes -- to jump-start the process.
Love thyself: Songs for the single
"I Touch Myself" -- the Divinyls: Perhaps the quintessential anthem of self-service in that it makes the solo act sound like a viable alternative to human contact -- a way of life, even. There's a sassy dancefloor cover out by Kristy Kay & Lenny B if you're a gay cliché or go-go dancer.
"Longview" -- Green Day: Long before they were protesting the sorry state of modern America, the Green guys were battling boredom with a little afternoon release.
"Dancing with Myself" -- Billy Idol: If we had the chance, we'd ask the world to dance -- then beg for a Billy Idol comeback. Snarls are so ripe for revival.
"Pictures of You" -- the Cure: Because orgasms and tears really go hand in hand. Pun intended!
"She Bop" -- Cyndi Lauper: I was 20 years old before I realized what La Lauper was referring to. Idiot. Anyway, check out the sultry, slowed-down version on her new The Body Acoustic -- if Rosy Palmer demands a little romance first.
Flavor of the week: Tracks for a new romance
"Happy Valentine's Day" -- OutKast: There aren't many songs in the modern pop canon that actually use the V-word, but Andre 3000 makes a valiant effort to change that.
"All Is Full of Love" -- Björk: I'm so happy with this love affair, I want to wear a swan dress and punch out some reporters.
"These Words" -- Natasha Bedingfield: A writer writing about writer's block and then spinning it into a declaration of emotion? How very Elton John and "Your Song." Bedingfield may be a flash in the pan, but she gets points for gumption.
"My Love Is Like ... Wo" -- Mya: An age-old ploy recast for a new generation: Forget them other bitches, because I rock.
"Love Is in the Air" -- John Paul Young: Disco? Darling, it happens; just go with it.
Got the hook-up: Aggressive sex songs
"What's Your Fantasy?" -- Ludacris featuring Shawnna: Hometown boy serves up some pretty, um, ludicrous scenarios -- The Georgia Dome? What? -- but the breathless chorus makes up for spotty lyrics. Make it hurt!
"Throb" -- Janet Jackson: Take her to the bedroom and pray for a wardrobe malfunction.
"Fuck the Pain Away" -- Peaches: A strip club classic that works just as well during tender moments with the one you lust. We're still trying to figure out exactly what is a "Chrissy behind"?
"You Shook Me All Night Long" -- AC/DC: Especially appropriate if you happen to be making out in the backseat of 1980 Camaro. Which is hot.
"Gett Off" -- Prince: Subtle much? No thanks. Runner-up: "Erotic City."
Commitment classics: You'll do for now
"By Your Side" -- Sade: It's sensual, it's smooth -- just don't fall asleep.
"The Look of Love" -- Dusty Springfield: God bless Burt Bacharach, who couldn't carry a note in a knapsack but wisely let the likes of Springfield channel his talents. Timeless.
"Such Great Heights" -- Iron & Wine: I know, the Garden State CD is soooo 2004, but this clever gem knows no age. The Postal Service's original ain't bad, either.
"I Wanna Thank Ya" -- Angie Stone: The underrated neo-soul diva goes all grateful in this keeper featuring Snoop Dogg.
"Whip Appeal" -- Babyface: No one does it like Babyface, and no one else could get away with lines like, "Whip all your sweet, sad lovin' on me."
The kiss-off: Tracks for the breakup
"We Belong Together" -- Mariah Carey: Check the attitude and give Mimi a chance. This song is like wo.
"You Have Placed a Chill in My Heart" -- Eurythmics: Was this the most bitter song to come out of the '80s? Discuss.
"How to Be Dead" -- Snow Patrol: A one-sided argument perfectly captured in verse. Therapy never felt so good.
"Useless Desires" -- Patty Griffin: It's more about breaking up with a dead-end town, but a shiftless lover could equally apply.
"No More Drama" -- Mary J. Blige: Remember when MJB made innovative music? Her sample from "The Young and the Restless" still makes me smile.
"I Thought You Were My Boyfriend" -- Magnetic Fields: Gay angst that we can all relate to. The moral of the story: Men suck.