We’ve all done it. Or at least, we all should’ve. I’m talking about compiling a bunch of tracks, hastily copying them to tape or CD, including your own ‘cute’ liner notes, artwork and track-listing, then sending it to the poor idiot you like. Like a lot. Love, even.
According to Rob in High Fidelity, the ultimate rom-com for awkward men, “you gotta kick off with a killer, to grab attention. Then you got to take it up a notch, but you don’t wanna blow your wad, so then you got to cool it off a notch”. In that same spirit of detail - and with the same romantic preparation - here’s a playlist for your loved one, significant other, or that person you see on the bus that you’ve fancied for ages, but have never spoken to. Or maybe they live in a weird town about 10 miles from yours and you don’t really fancy the trip, if hypothetically they liked you too.
Whitney Houston – I Will Always Love You
People say that subtle glances and hints are a great way to form initial bonds with a person; to cause little rushes of excitement between two potential lovers. Well, bollocks to that. Subtlety is rubbish. Start out with a declaration of undying love and just throw it out there for all to see. It doesn’t matter that you don’t know your prospective partner particularly well. You might well have no idea what kind of annoying habits they have, or whether or not they secretly enjoy the Daily Express. You just bloody love them from the outset. Some people would describe this as “creepy” and cry “no, what are you doing?” but trust me. Start with Whitney.
Nirvana – Milk It
Is there a sweeter sentiment than “we feed off of each other, we can share our endorphins”? One of Kurt Cobain’s more experimental compositions, this is an enormous, booming track, with vintage Steve Albini production; the spacing is genius, the guitars sound like chainsaws. However, as a romantic song, ‘Milk It’ hits a snag with a chorus of “doll steak, test meat” along with the line “look on the bright side, suicide”. But hey, even if the conjecture is true and it is a song about heroin addiction, you can readapt it for your own purposes. Try to come up with fun ways of repurposing the lyric “my milk is her shit/her shit is my milk” in an adorable way. You can do it!
Michael Jackson – The Girl Is Mine (feat. Paul McCartney)
Okay, let’s just for a second imagine the kind of person that’d want to go out with both Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson. Imagine if it was you on those two dates: first you’d go to a theme park with MJ, where it’d be only him, Bubbles and you there. Then he tells you that Alice in Wonderland is real, and you smile, nod and share concerned looks with security. Then you pop over to Paul’s, where he just walks around his house shouting “BASTARD! Sorry, sorry… Just… Don’t mention him, alright?” even though you hadn’t said anything about John Lennon at all. Both times you’d be followed by paparazzi, and you’d be publicly known as the person going out with the guy who lived in a particularly expensive Disney Store and the man responsible for the Frog Chorus. Anyway, this paragraph can become a funny little in-joke for you and your prospective partner. Talk about it over dinner. Yeah? See. Exactly.
Fat Les – Vindaloo
You might both like curry and football hooliganism! Lads lads lads, En-ger-land!
Cradle of Filth - Temptation
Remember Heaven 17? No, but they had a song called ‘Temptation’, which was a fairly major hit, peaking at #2 in the UK Charts back in ’83. The song was presumed dead for years afterwards until Cradle of Filth resurrected it in 2006 with the help of singer Dirty Harry. Truly, it’s a work of art. It’s also, as a song, a surefire method of contraception.
GG Allin – Bite It You Scum
GG Allin was a strange man, known for relieving himself on stage, fighting with members of the audience, stripping completely nude before the end of the first song, sparring with cops and courting controversy wherever he went. You can show your rebellious side by A: knowing who GG Allin is and B: Playing a song with lyrics like “Well you want me to contribute/All I got is blood for you/All you want is more and more/Gluttony, you pig you whore”. Just don’t watch the documentary together. It’s the Human Centipede of music documentaries.
Dido - Thank You
You need a breather after that, right? So will the future Mr or Mrs You, so let’s cool off with a bit of Dido. You can make reference to how those little looks in the office or the shared commutes home are “the best day of my life”, or something, you nauseating fuck. Sorry, I just… I’m just angry. I wish I could be the kind of person that listened to Dido with someone. Maybe I’d light a vanilla scented candle and we could hang up a “Keep Calm and Drink Wine!” poster in the hall.
Eminem - Stan
Show someone how clever you are by using the song that extrapolated the aforementioned Dido song into an ode to a stalker fan. There’s subtext here! Also, sending someone an Eminem song is a great way to indicate that you have romantic feelings for him or her. Obviously.
Mousse T - Horny
Girls like confidence. Guys like honesty. It says it in Cosmo, so it must be true. Sometimes it’s best to just lay everything down on the line and basically say “I’ve not had sex for a long, long time”. This song does that. It’s also a throwback to the 90’s. Maybe the person you like spends their evenings doing quizzes on Buzzfeed about Saved By The Bell or Friends or how much of a NINETIES KID they are. The nineties! Remember them?! I’m kidding, the person you like is as individual as a snowflake.
Prince – Sister/Jack U Off/Bambi
This is a really risky one. You can pick any of these three: a song about incest, a song about mutual masturbation, or a song trying to convince a lesbian that “it’s better with a man”. The weird thing about all of these songs is that they’re totally brilliant, but would sound intensely creepy/illegal/homophobic had they come out of any other mouth but Prince’s (admittedly, ‘Bambi’s’ sort of homophobic regardless). A cool thing to do might be to mix these three into each other. How you’d do that is your decision entirely. “Incest is everything it’s said to be” is maybe not a lyric you’d want on a romantic mixtape, so use Prince with caution. Unless it’s one of his obvious, genuinely romantic songs, but that wouldn’t really work here.
Tom Jones - What’s New Pussycat
Before calling people “darling” in a voice as rich as chocolate, Tom Jones was pretty good at “doing a song”. This song has possibly the best intro ever, with a second-long burst of brass; followed by the Welsh crooner absolutely going for it. The lyrics are just about euphemistic enough for inclusion on this mixtape, one, so you can just play the intro over and over again.
The Velvet Underground - I’m Waiting For The Man
This is a great way to show someone that you’ve got good taste in music, but you also like injecting heroin. You’re a troubled genius, you. Nobody will ever ‘get’ you. Apart from the person in accounts that you’ve had your eye on, who once said they liked this band, they “thought”. If it was “the band I’m thinking of, yeah”. Everyone seems to like The Velvet Underground. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a negative opinion levelled towards Lou Reed and co. Therefore, they’re perfect for this cause. I could’ve not picked a song about drugs, but where’s the fun?
The Beatles - I Am The Walrus
Show how subversive you are by deciding to have The Beatles on your mixtape, because you’re, like, so kitsch! Then elect to have their absolute worst song, when their brains were fried on acid. “I am the walrus, koo koo ca choo”. No you’re not John, mate, you’re just being a bit of a dick. RIP. Having the Beatles on a mixtape is horrendously cliché, but that’s all the more reason to do it. I remember making a mix CD for an ex-girlfriend that had early Belle & Sebastian on it, thinking of how romantic and sensitive I would seem, but I ended up looking like a bit of a dick. The Beatles have the same effect – there’s not a single Beatles song you could put on this that wouldn’t be ultimately wrong, and that’s not because they’re bad, it’s just because it’s super predictable. They’ve gone from being obvious, to being sort of hip again, then back to being obvious. It’s the trajectory Fleetwood Mac are on just now; they’ll be back in your Uncle’s record collection, gathering dust, by 2016.
Angelo Badalamenti – Dance of the Dream Man
Seeing as everyone’s back into Twin Peaks now, show someone how cool you are by not only putting a song from the show into your tape, but one that’s not just the theme song! Seriously though, this song is great. Angelo Badalamenti is great. Maybe you and your future partner can start a thing where you eat cherry pie at each other’s houses, and speak in that weird backwards-then-forwards sound that accompanies the dialogue in the famous dream scene. It could be cute. You should do that, actually.
Ray Darwin - Kiss From A Rose
It’s important to finish strongly with a mixtape. Extremely important, in fact. Therefore, I’ve plumped for Ray Darwin’s up-tempo reggae version of Seal’s grande opus Kiss From a Rose, because the original is possibly played out by now, and if you listen to this, you’ll have this in your head for the longest time, for better or worse. And if you can get a song into someone’s head, maybe they’ll have you in their head, too. That’s not in a creepy way, more in a hey look, I’m making you a mixtape and it’s nice sort of way. Also, the original was the Batman theme, but this could be played in a really average romantic-comedy with Seth Rogen and/or Jason Segel in it. That could be your first date! Wonderful.
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