Creativity, Love and Connection, music

Dirty-Love Dozen

A Grunge-Rock Love Journey.


Honestly, I’m not a Valentine’s Day kind of woman. I won’t lie, there was a time when it might have meant something to me. When I fell for the “flawless” romantic Valentine’s Day hype we see in the media. You know, the pipe-dream feeding us the scoop about how important it is to celebrate love on this one particular day of the year. As if those 24-hours could actually determine the authenticity of your relationship. The bigger the bouquet, the bigger the love, right?

Wait. Don’t answer that. It was a rhetorical question and I was really talking about bouquets… hmm…. where was I?

Big love-things and bigger bouquets aside, I could care less about Valentine’s Day now.

In truth, I like to think of Valentine’s Day in the essence of it’s dark, messy and mysterious history because real life love is like that. Love can be dark, messy and certainly as mysterious as the shady origins of Valentine’s Day.

A bit like a Grunge-Rock love journey, really.

Let me explain.

Romantic love is wonderful. It’s an experience most of us want to create in our lives. To connect deeply, soulfully and honestly with your lover is one of life’s greatest gifts because each time we love, we learn how to open our heart that little bit wider.

But as much as love can activate the best version of ourselves is as much as it has the ability to take us on a journey through the dark night of the soul.

An unforgettable odyssey that causes deep reflection and insight, and transforms us into new states of awareness — better people. We learn so much about ourselves through love and heart pain.

How you fold the experience within your inner-sanctuary makes all the difference between inviting bitterness or benevolence into your life.

We don’t need Valentine’s Day to remind us of that. We just need to understand what love means to us, and how far we’re willing to go for that unique, soulful connection.

My Grunge-Rock Love Journey playlist is for anyone who has known deep love and dark pain, and who, despite everything, has fully realized that love isn’t always like a mushy love song or a romantic movie. Love has a dark side that burns a trail toward the light inside of us if we embrace it.



#1 Love Hurts by Nazareth

“Love is like a flame. It burns you when it’s hot.”

Personally, I can resonate with the energy of love and its sweet darkness through this song.

Love Hurts was originally released by the Everly Brothers on their 1960 album, A Date with The Everly Brothers. But when Nazareth covered the track in 74’, the band’s lead singer Dan McCafferty hit new realms of despair with his emotionally raw vocal delivery. Reminding us about the pain of deep love and ardent passion.

Love Hurts introduces our Grunge-Rock Love Journey because the flame burns, magnetizes and leaves a scar on our soul like nothing else.

#2 Heart-Shaped Box by Nirvana

“I’ve been locked inside your heart-shaped box for weeks.”

Apparently, there was much confusion about how Cobain meant this song to be interpreted. Some speculated that it may have been about cancer. Others, thought it was about drugs.

Me? Right away, the meaning of Heart-Shaped Box echoed the power of the feminine. Courtney Love confirmed my inklings when she said:

“You do know the song is about my vagina, right? Throw down your umbilical noose so I can climb right back, umm. On top of which some of the lyrics about my vagina I contributed…”

Nirvana’s omnipresent Heart-Shaped Box reflects the intricate love dynamics between the masculine and feminine energies.

#3 Sex Type Thing by Stone Temple Pilots

“You wouldn’t want me to have to hurt you too, hurt you too?”

Despite thatthis song may have been composed by Scott Weiland with a very dark subject matter in mind, it’s coming in at track three because my interpretation borders along exquisite lust and sexual power.

“I know you want what’s on my mind.”

Need I say more?

#4 Desire by Meg Myers

“Boy, I’m gonna love you. I’m gonna tear into your soul.”

Sexy. Powerful. Incredibly haunting. Ms. Myers captures the bone-deep yearning of desire with a rebellious flare that resonates like the hunger of a new lover.

Track four, Desire brings a demanding contrast of murky-pure revolution to love. Move me from the inside or move on, buddy.

#5 Touch, Peel and Stand by Days of the New

“And now I stand, and I peel for more.”

Sex or drugs? It’s said that song-writer Travis Meeks wrote these lyrics about “the apple in the garden of Eden — you can touch, peel, and then stand with it, but you’re told not to eat it. In the end were gonna do what were told not to do. It just takes time for us to find that reason.”

Some types of love can be a little messed-up, complicated and extremely addictive.

This acoustic post-grunge number packs a sexy feel that for me, embodies that darkly primitive and at times, disturbing connection between lovers.

#6 Tainted Love by Marilyn Manson

“And the love we share seems to go nowhere.”

Tainted Love was composed by Ed Cobb and originally recorded by Gloria Jean in 1964 before Soft Cell blasted their cover into the UK record charts in 1981. Marilyn Manson, however, brings a unique gothic flavor to this track that captures toxic love perfectly.

When love seems to go nowhere beyond a tease, it’s time to run, baby.

#7 Mudshovel by Staind

“And you rip me apart with the brutal things you say.”

I’m not a musician, so I am unfamiliar with correct muso-lingo, but damn, I love it when the heavy riffs drop at the opening of this grungy rock metal number.

It gets me every time.

The brutal way singer Aaron Lewis delivers the lyrics over the pulsating rhythm of heavy guitar is powerfully intense. You can just feel and relate with his torment and pain.

This kickass track will get you moving one way or another through the process of love. Remember to use your middle finger while you’re jamming it at the one who hurt you.

Rage has its purpose.

#8 Like Suicide by Seether

“And it’s the same old trip, the same old trip as before.”

Flowing the toxic relationship theme into this hard rock/nu metal combo, track eight is serving up an audio slice of love-gone-wrong. Like suicide describes the cycle of old games and emotional blackmail which, frankly, none of us need.

For those who’ve known that twisted, player-of-hearts who delights in setting you up to fall and fail, Seether brings enough thrash here to help keep your resolve — we will not be used by love.

#9 Torn by Creed

“Yes, I’m the one who, the only one who would carry on this far.”

Speaking of love, Creed articulates the above-mentioned dark night of the soul perfectly in this spiritual, soul-searching hard rock track.

The thing about loving someone deeply is that it ignites personal change and causes you to question everything. Including all that you believed to be true.

This song is a journey in itself.

#10 Butterfly with Wings by Smashing Pumpkins

“And what do I get for my pain? Betrayed desires and a piece of the game.”

In 1997, Butterfly with Wings won a Grammy for Best Hard Rock Performance, and has got to be one the most popular and recognizable songs produced by Smashing Pumpkins.

The push-back track. This song sends a clear message about transformation and breaking out of “the cage” — societal conditioning, oppression, cultural expectations…. heart pain. The same elements apply in love because love was never meant to conform, be conditioned (by holidays like Valentine’s Day) or obey “human” rules.

We hurt and then we somehow find our wings to fly a new journey. We discover who we truly are.

#11 Voodoo by Godsmack

“I’m coming back again.”

The constant beat of the drums combined with the percussion instruments in Godsmack’s Voodoo lends a tribal feel that is both hypnotic and sexy, clinging to your hips like a new revelation. That’s what this song does to me.

Besides, they do say that love is like a drug….

Life just showed you a part of yourself that was previously unknown. Breathe in, breathe in — you’re coming back again, anew.

#12 The Chemicals Between Us by Bush

“I’d like to thank, all of my lovers, lovers, lovers.”

The final song of the Grunge-Rock Love Journey is a digitally-effective vintage take about the everlasting bond between lovers and the imprint we leave on each other. Like a tribute to love and connection.

Featured in the popular American drama series, Charmed, songwriter Gavin Rossdale, explains the lyrics as “the differences between lovers.”

Our great loves may not always last forever, but the love each relationship brings into our life experience is an intimate path designed to expand our hearts and teach us more about ourselves — who we are, what we want and don’t want, and the things we do or don’t do along the journey of love.


At the end of the day, I believe that the best kind of love isn’t always supposed to be about settling in your comfort zone. Great love is meant to challenge, transform and free you like a Grunge-Rock Love Journey.


Also published by Living Out Loud on Medium

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