Usually, reading someone's list of suggested CDs for Valentine's Day is like trying to find a date at a funeral. The problem isn't one of place, but of context: love, like '80s rocker Pat Benatar sang, is as much a battlefield as the subject of a romantic sonnet. And wildly subjective. So if you're going to war with yourself over loneliness or bliss, you want to not only have a suitable soundtrack, but to make sure it's your soundtrack and not someone else's. I therefore introduce the following selections as general vibe-inducers; they are by no means intrinsically romantic or even close to having an adequate amount of warm fuzzies for a night of wine and, uh, physical collision. But they are, perhaps more importantly, deeply evocative. In other words, the type of discs that lovers -- or their broken-hearted doppelgangers -- can gaze at the sky to as they try and figure our where to go from here. Even if it is oblivion.

Cocteau Twins, Treasure

If you're talking about the lush aura of newly born romance or heartache, then you're speaking the Cocteau Twins sometimes obscure but always rewarding language. Led by a legendary songbird by the name of Elizabeth Fraser and buttressed by the guitar atmospherics of talented gearheads Robin Guthrie and Simon Raymonde, the Twins spent their decade-plus career crafting the soundtrack of not only the womb but of the universe in general. And Treasure, like its title suggests, was their greatest gift. From the rumbling bass and layered vocals of "Ivo" to the orchestral melancholy of its best track, "Beatrix", Treasure contains a king's ransom worth of romantic longing, ethereal ululation and potent musical composition. Guthrie is one of music's more underrated musicians -- mostly because he never met a gadget he didn't like -- but the Twins' music has never suffered because of his curiosity; rather, it's only been enhanced by it. And then there's Fraser, who since the band's breakup has been aggressively courted by Twins' minor-leaguers as diverse as Massive Attack and Medicine. She's an unrecognized Wonder of our World; her voice should be in a museum. If you've fallen recently in our out of love, dig up Treasure. And consider yourself enriched.

Anything from Black Heart Procession

Right, right. You've seen this band before in these pages, but considering the subject, it's worth returning to for a refresher. After Pall Jenkins and Toby Nathaniel suffered simultaneous breakups, they abandoned their indie rock powerhouse, Three Mile Pilot, for a long, lonely trip down Desperation Lane and formed Black Heart Procession. The result was four albums exploring the dark corners and bright promise of love in all its complicated manifestations. No matter what condition your condition is in, Black Heart has a song for you. Depressed after a falling out? Then the apocalyptic "The Sinking Road" will make you feel so sad that you'll feel better. Happy to be together? Then "It's a Crime I Never Told About the Diamonds in Your Eyes" ought to communicate that feeling well for you. And while their first three discs were invested exercises in exorcism -- they were, after all, reductively titled 1, 2 and 3 -- BHP's latest, Amore Del Tropico, stretches out the way you do after you've come out of the tank after a vicious breakup. There's a bossanova about love's geography, as well as a "Sign on the Road" telling you that nobody's coming home. No matter the state of your relationship, Pall and Toby have been there, written about it, and bled all over it.

Mogwai, EP + 2

Sometimes words weigh too much when you're in or out of love. They get in the way of your feelings -- as well as the excessive and sometimes unending analysis of those feelings -- and just make things worse. So get rid of them -- Mogwai, Scotland's post-rock practitioners of instrumental beauty, did. Privileging compositional complexity over lyrical redundancy (quick! name the last original romantic lyrics you've heard…), Mogwai might not have intended their hard-to-find EP for lovers -- or lovers-in-anguish -- but this six-song mini-epic has more feeling, poignance and power in it than an entire lifetime's worth of Paul McCartney's silly love songs. And what's really funny is that its song titles eschew musical context entirely. "Stanley Kubrick" and the amazing "Burn Girl Prom Queen" might not read like Shakespearean sonnets, but they are two of the most gorgeous musical movements laid down in recent memory. "Burn Girl Prom Queen" in particular swells and recedes like a lover's sigh or the ocean s/he is adrift upon; I challenge anyone to find a more moving piece of music anywhere. Mogwai is so good sometimes, it's scary -- but then again, so is Eros, my friends. If you can find this EP anywhere, buy one for yourself and your friends. They'll need it sooner than they think.

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