Terius Nash introducing Casha – ‘Silly’ (chosen by Alan Reilly)
So here we are at Valentine’s Day – the most redundant and fickle of all make-believe celebrations – and romance lingers in the air like the putrid stench of a rotting relationship. A man very lucky in the fleshy side of things, The-Dream’s career is a veritable chronicle of sexual conquests, our boy Terius Nash doesn’t fare too well with anything long-term (he’s just split from fellow song-writing mogul Christina Milian, yeah her from ‘Dip It Low’ fame.)
Due to record company complications, Nash chose to release a free-to-download album last year under his real name. 1977 is an album accounting relationship break downs – it’s also an R&B gem. Introducing Casha, Terius uncharacteristically picks a cover (with a wealth of mint material he doesn’t normally have to) – Deniece Williams’ ‘Silly’. Opting for an unknown was a wise move, his superstar buddies would have ran amok – Beyoncé would have gone syrupy sincere, Maria would have shrieked for her life and Rihanna, well, she’d have just straddled it probably.
Instead, Casha retains the sensuality of this old school love song. Penned in 1981, there’s a naivety to ‘Silly’. Firstly, she clearly doesn’t know the guy very well. Listening to the lyrics, he’s obviously some kind of man whore – “You’re just a lover out to score. I know I should be looking for more. What could it be in you I see? What could it be?” – come on woman, get yourself together. Still, he’s not the rat. Love is. In the ‘70s love was often objectified, even personified. The Carpenters had a long running battle with the bastard. Williams had the same innocence, a reason why Nash’s version trumps the original. It oozes ache and desperation, but also sashays like a parading vixen. The song is a green light, a sheer negligee or a splash of nasty cologne. Play this baby over tea and toast on the morning of the 14th, or any morning, and you could be late for work. If The-Dream can’t help you, nobody can.
Roxette – ‘It Must Have Been Love’ (chosen by Jennifer Gannon)
Okay, it doesn’t quite have the funtime appeal of screaming ‘Hello, You FOOL I love you!’ into the face of your beloved like the grenade of musical insanity that is ‘Joyride’ but we must acknowledge that for some, Valentine’s Day is 24 hours of paper-cut pain slicing their squelching, bloody hearts.
If you’re just not up to hearing the soul scorching honesty of ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’ for the trillionth time and you are suffering from the uncontrollably urge to beat every gooney flower wielding couple in sight just look a bit closer and you’ll see in their pained expressions and on their rictus grins that some of them are as miserable as you.
So this patented ‘Love Day’ why not stop being brave and cynical and just howl something comforting into the epic darkness until your throat gets raw and your neighbours get scared and the day finally sinks without a trace. You could do worse than this almost forgotten karaoke beauty.
‘It Must Have Been Love’ was the heartbreak theme tune for legions of young girls who looked upon prostitution as the most viable occupation for the hopelessly romantic. It inspired many a Ritz-fuelled Mam to bellow it out every Saturday night in their local, dreaming of being Julia but with the aching, grim reality of being another Shirley Valentine burning in their brains.
‘It Must Have Been Love’ is common place desperation for a life never lived, a dream cut short wrapped up in a shiny power ballad bow, something that everyone can understand if not readily admit to, this ‘Valentine’s Day massacre just surrender and let Roxette do the rest.
Lisa Hannigan – ‘I Don’t Know’ (chosen by Elaine Buckley)
Valentine’s Day is a tricky one. Some revel in it, some won’t even entertain the notion of it – and just like there are different attitudes towards Valentine’s Day, there are many different attitudes towards the concept of the ‘love song’, too. I have always found that the more subtle ones say it so much better than the clichéd wedding-day-first-dance favourites (see ‘Amazed’ by Lonestar) ever can…
I reckon there are few songs out there that capture the REAL feeling of falling for someone as well as Lisa Hannigan’s ‘I Don’t Know’. Not a “silly little love song” by any means, but instead a song about the silliness of the human romantic psyche – track five of Hannigan’s 2008 Mercury and Choice Prize nominated debut solo album Sea Sew is an impossibly endearing take on meeting someone new; trying to play it cool, when really you just want to know EVERYTHING about them (i.e the stuff that stalking their Facebook profile won’t tell you). From trivial idiosyncrasies to potential deal-breakers, all of those things that might run through one’s head when on an early date with someone they have very high hopes for, and as such would like to avoid freaking out with a personal version of the Spanish Inquisition. But behind it all, as the guard is gradually let down, a simple sentiment – “I don’t fall easy at all… But if you want to, I am game”. Enchanting.
Jets To Brazil – ‘All Things Good And Nice’ (chosen by Simon Roche)
While everyone’s concentrating their attention (and advertising) on that partner you may or may not have found, Jets To Brazil have created the simplest love song to everything else in life. Running through a list from mothers to pianos to drummers, the couplets around each object of affection are amusing and warm and the sidestep into a little “take time to find your way” chorus is a nice hopeful antidote to anyone feeling left out of this ‘One And Only’ marketing guff that hangs in the air. Hell, there’s even love for mistakes and strangers, two things you don’t see Hallmark cards for.
Flight Of The Conchords – ‘Business Time’ (chosen by Phil Udell)
Yes love and romance is all very well, but sometimes all you need is a bit of a raw passion. On a Wednesday. After you’ve put out the recycling. With an Oscar nomination in the bag for his ‘Man Or Muppet’ track, this finds Brett McKenzie channeling his inner Prince and Jermaine Clement getting down to it in his socks. Perfect for the day that’s in it.