We’re celebrating Valentine’s Day in our Mail Music Monday post today, with “The Ballad of Love and Hate” by the Avett Brothers. This bluegrass-influenced folk song, which begins with a letter being mailed, sounds as if it could have been written 70 or 80 years ago, but its origins are much more recent than that. It was released in 2007 on Emotionalism, the album credited with bringing the Avett Brothers to wider recognition in the music world.
The Avett Brothers have a wide range of influences in their sound, and have been compared to acts as diverse as The Beatles and The Ramones. The band has been active since 2002, and recent interest in the folk genre has boosted their profile. They performed with Mumford & Sons and Bob Dylan at the 2011 Grammy Awards.
As for “The Ballad of Love and Hate,” it may seem an oddly melancholy song to pick for Valantine’s Day at first. It’s certainly not a sweeping romantic crooner or a high-energy dance number. But to me, at least, the song is a reminder of how we look at things affects our ability to enjoy them. These days it seems too many people use Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to lament what they don’t have in their lives, whether it’s singles unhappy with their status or people in relationships unhappy with the relationships they’re in. Me, I’d rather go the other direction. I see Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to celebrate love, and all the good things it brings, regardless of relationship status.