If you’re looking for the soundtrack to this Valentine’s Day, look no further than the Index’s own expertly curated concoction of tunes sure to fuel your every emotion–from love to heartbreak. The Pacific Index staff shares some songs for the holiday, as well as a touching tribute to the late avant-garde pop singer and producer SOPHIE…
“JUST LIKE WE NEVER SAID GOODBYE” – SOPHIE
Nobody made music like SOPHIE. Her sound is industrial, made of plastic synths and twinkling ambiance produced by something like a factory-managing AI trained exclusively on modern mainstream pop. Yet it is stunningly human. “JUST LIKE WE NEVER SAID GOODBYE” is a joyously nostalgic piece about reuniting with an ex-lover that is both too saccharine and too manufactured to work as a piece of mainstream pop. But under SOPHIE’s touch, everything builds to beauty. Her sound comes from the future and she knows it.
To create something this musically separate from almost every other act on the planet requires great knowledge of the production software that powers modern music. Those who only listen to “real” (read: non-electronic) music, then, don’t care about the factory-made bass their favorite instrumentalist uses. They care about the bassist. SOPHIE’s musical thesis—that what matters in music is the humans behind the sound, not the ubiquitously factory-made instruments they use—also just so happens to apply as beautifully to human expression and gender identity as it does to music. Her songs, overflowing with joy for the postmodern and the “fake”, is then a showcase for the beautiful modern malleability of the human body. Her version of humanity comes from the future and she knows it. In a world without a future, SOPHIE provided a vision for the gender-nonconforming generation who desperately needed it.
It’s okay to cry now she’s gone. — Quint Iverson
“Lovin’ Me (feat. Phoebe Bridgers)” – Kid Cudi
I don’t think I’m alone when I say that the Phoebe Bridgers feature was an unexpected bonus on the new Kid Cudi album. Man on the Moon III: The Chosen One dropped Dec. 11, and graced us with this unlikely duo. “Lovin’ Me” is ethereal, dreamy, celestial. Bridger’s low, sultry vocals blend with Kid Cudi’s to take the lyrics about self-love to the next level. They sing about how they can’t grow without loving themselves, which serves as a good reminder for us all. Whether you’re with a partner this Valentine’s Day or not, remember that you are fully capable of giving yourself the love you deserve. — Ella Cutter
“Break Up Together” – Theo Katzman
Though I’m happily in a relationship this Valentine’s Day, I’ve always been a sucker for a good breakup song. Theo Katzman’s “Break Up Together” is a cheery pop song that hides a sad story behind its beautiful harmonies. It’s a song about sharing the pain of a long-term relationship ending, which I’m sure a lot of people can relate to. Even if you’re not going through a breakup, you can still appreciate the beat and the sentiment behind the song. “Break Up Together” captures both the fairytale of a relationship and the harsh reality of no longer sharing a life with someone. The song also covers the complexities of a breakup, calling it a “strange kind of pleasure” while also noting that at least they’re not alone in feeling pain. Whether you’re in a good or bad mood this Valentine’s Day, Katzman’s song is a treat that should be added to your playlist. — Grace Alexandria
“You’re Not With Me” – No Vacation
Bedroom-pop, indie rock, and soft alternative have taken over the music industry with many up and coming artists and bands. San Francisco based bedroom-pop band No Vacation started from a bedroom and are now living it up in Brooklyn. They have songs that have reached millions of streams, even some surpassing 10 million, and coming in at over 9 million streams is “You’re Not With Me,” a song about an unbreakable bond that is soon broken in the end. From their nearly 4-year old EP Intermission, “You’re Not With Me” is a cozy, yet extremely intimate ballad about two lovers and an inseparable bond that is no longer after being away from each other for such a long time. This song makes you think about how, no matter how far apart you may be, you still miss and wish for the comfort that you had received from that special someone. — Rush Williams
“Love Story (Taylor’s Version)” – Taylor Swift
As I’m writing this, snow is falling outside of my window. I’m watching the white of winter blanket the fence outside of my bedroom, covering the roofs, the grass, the trees of the houses nearby. “Love Story” by Taylor Swift is playing in my headphones, fueling a dash of magic into the already enchanting scene. There’s something about this moment that feels nostalgic, yet at the same time, all new. It could be that I have no distinct memory of this song in the context of the snow–however well-fitting it feels now. Or it could be that this version of Taylor Swift’s classic is her version–the newly re-recorded and re-released track off her upcoming re-issue of Fearless. The song holds memories, and its DNA is the same as that song that ran loops on my iPod 13 years ago. Yet at the same time, it’s unique. It’s fresh. It’s a new experience to give me new memories to look back on another 13 years down the line. For your own experience, listen to “Love Story (Taylor’s Version)” while walking in the snow, holding hands with your sweetheart, curled up by the fireplace, or in any other place that feels like a memory of home. — Bren Swogger