Valentine’s Day

I realize that I’m early for Valentine’s Day, but it’s on my mind and it’s sneaking up anyway. To treat myself, I picked up some variegated sweetheart roses and mixed them with Yoko Ono button poms that are a lovely apple green colour. I’ve also selected two tender, overlooked songs... Both are about longing and lonely car rides and would be perfect for a moody, winter road-trip playlist.

In Bruce Springsteen’s “Valentine’s Day,” a thoughtful, homesick man is travelling along a “spooky highway in a “big lazy car.” The solitary drive seems to provide the clarity that his active mind seeks. I’ve liked this song since the first time I heard it. I have a memory from my early 20s of heading north on some dark Ontario highway listening to “Valentine’s Day” on cassette tape. There were snowflakes hitting the windshield and I had a feeling of excitement in my chest.

Life Short Call Now” by Bruce Cockburn is a song that I only recently started obsessing about. The music’s almost relentless rhythm is like a long car drive and the lyrics capture that universal feeling of yearning so perfectly. The driver is passing by a depressing landscape of billboards and signs that “promise paradise” and more. He stops at some lonely hotel where the walls are too thin and sadly ruminates about the one that he loves. (An added bonus is that it’s easy to play on the guitarD, Dmaj7, E, A, I think.) I like the song’s telegram-like refrain, as well. It’s urgent, desperate, and true.