Pale Wire (Popscene)

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Hey lovers, you must not be lazy.
Searching for St. Valentine
For this was on seynt Valentynes day,
Whan every foul cometh ther to chese his make,
Of every kinde, that men thenke may;
And that so huge a noyse gan they make,
That erthe and see, and tree, and every lake
So ful was, that unnethe was ther space
For me to stonde, so ful was al the place.

That's from Chaucer's The Parlement of Fowles, a 14th century poem referenced in The Catholic Encyclopedia's entry on today's patron saint, Mr. Valentine.

While the church recognizes at least three martyrs with a claim to the title, the entry notes that the tradition of exchanging tokens of romantic admiration we still practice today—literally, today—is less sacred than profane. It stretches back to England and France in the Middle Ages where customs enshrined in poetry like Chaucer's denoted this, the halfway point of the year's second month, as the day when birds began to pair.

Poetry they ain't, but I do have a couple valentines just for you, dear reader.

The Only Ones - "Lovers of Today"
A little-known single from a band mostly remembered, when it's remembered at all, for the punk masterpiece "Another Girl, Another Planet." What you might call the British "Blank Generation," this one certainly isn't optimistic ("We ain't got feelings / We've got no love / We ain't got nothing to say / We're lovers of today"), but it is pretty good.

The Drive-By Truckers - "Feb 14"
Here's the lead track from the forthcoming album by Blue-State America's favorite slice of Red-State rock since Steve Earle, The Drive-By Truckers. The bizarre popularity of this group with gangly graduate students like myself aside, they really do rock in a deep-fried, whiskey-and-women, Lynryd Skynyrd sort of way. Hardly their greatest songwriting achievement, this track still manages to stand on its own thanks to singer Patterson Hood's raw, raspy earnestness. I can't get enough of this guy's voice. You should hear his falsetto.