Last week our Style Editor Becky emailed me about her Valentine’s Day dilemma: Mix Tape Block. See Becky’s just started courting a lovely girl and doesn’t want to use the same seven or eight tired love songs that she’s gifted to other girls. Which is fair, I think every girl deserves her own special mix and so here we are to help!
‘Cause Mix Tape Block is a problem at any time of the year. But it’s particularly serious in the lead up to Valentine’s Day if you’re a sensitive soul who wants to tell a girl how you feel through the language of love, which is music, and the words to the music, despite what Ursula might try to tell you when trying to steal your voice away.
Also let’s not forget that mix tapes are affordable, personal, and something you can throw together quickly if you’ve only just now realised that Valentine’s Day is two days away.
So I thought it’d be fun if we took a group approach to solving Becky’s problem by asking a few members of Team Autostraddle to suggest a few songs for a Valentine’s Mix. And we want to hear your suggestions too, because there’s only so many times you can play the girls in your street “Every Breath You Take” before your reputation as a repeat mix tape offender spreads. Also if you’re gonna buy iTunes and you click out via Autostraddle, we will get about half a cent for every song you buy. Eventually, that means WE’RE GOING TO DISNEYWORLD AND YOU’RE INVITED. So please do, if you wanna.
And once you’ve created the perfect Valentine’s Mix Tape, you’re gonna need the perfect CD cover. Check out our Executive Editor and DIY guru Laneia’s how To guide for making a super fly mix tape sleeve.
Valentine’s Day Mix Tape: The Love Tracks
FILM & TV EDITOR LOLA:
The Magnetic Fields – “The Book of Love”
Of all their 69 Love Songs, this is the most straightforwardly romantic. It acknowledges every silly aspect of love, and celebrates it anyway.
Elbow – “Mirrorball”
Falling in love can make your whole miserable life feel soft and new again. Nothing says ‘epic love’ better than lush instrumentation & harmonies.
Macy Gray – “Sweet Baby”
I dare you not to smile when you listen to this song. Love is all you need.
Lauryn Hill – “Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You”
Hands down, best version of this song! Simple & sweet.
Mélange Lavonne – “Marry Me”
There is absolutely no doubt that this is a LOVE song — a lesbian one, at that.
MUSIC EDITOR CRYSTAL:
Placebo – “I’ll Be Yours”
I interpret this to be about loving someone selflessly and unconditionally, being whoever they need you to be – a friend, a lover, etc. It’s beautiful.
Phoenix – “Rally”
This is a really fun and upbeat song, perfect if your mix tape will be given to someone who you’re still in the process of winning over.
The Cure – “Just Like Heaven”
Of all songs; Just Like Heaven.
Dave Matthews Band – “Crush 16”
The song is tumbly, just like falling in love! – “It’s crazy I’m thinking / Just knowing that the world is round / And here I’m dancing on the ground,” and the way he sings “I will treat you sweetly/ Adore you / I mean – you crush me.”
EMO DEATH MATCH: Magnetic Fields – “Luckiest Guy on the Lower East Side” & Bright Eyes – “First Day of my Life”
These is especially relevant for ppl w/soft souls who fall in love in Williamsburg (Brooklyn), Portland, San Francisco, or wherever in Nebraska Bright Eyes is from. Bicycle not included.
Bonus – the video is gender-bending to the max, and full of familiar faces. Actually I think this video marks the high point of the emo queer hipster movement. From here on out it’s all sort of been a rehash, but angrier.
Unwritten Law – Callin
When these guys perform live they’re usually drunk and tearing their eyeballs apart sweaty and angry, and then suddenly this song is super gentle and super simple and super earnest. “Hey little girl look what you do…”
Adam Lambert – Whatya Want From Me
“It’s me/ I’m a freak / but thanks for loving me / ’cause you’re doing it perfectly.”
Erykah Badu – “On and On”
‘Cause it’s sexy.
EXECUTIVE EDITOR LANEIA:
The Blow – “Parentheses”
“There’s plenty space to encase whatever weird way my mind goes / I know I’ll be safe in these arms.” Um hello, this is what we all want.
Her Space Holiday – “Sleepy Tigers”
“It’s not that I have news to bring / I just wanna make your telephone ring / so it shows / and you know.” Shut up that is so cute.
The Knife – “Heartbeats (Live)”
The lyrics may not be especially lovey, but to me, this song feels like I’m being promised something I really wanted.
INTERN [HOT] LAURA:
Counting Crows – “Up All Night”
“Cause I’ve been think I’d like to see your eyes open up real wide the minute that you see me.”
Explosions In The Sky – “Your Hand In Mine”
This song is just so pretty. It makes me have lots of nice feelings about things lasting forever [especially because in songland, 8 minutes is a long time].
AUDIOSTRADDLE WRITER COREY:
Bruce Springsteen – “I’m On Fire”
AUDIOSTRADDLE BLOGGER EMILY:
The Beatles – “Something”
In my opinion, this is one of the Beatles’ most beautiful songs. “Something in the way she moves…”
The Turtles – “Happy Together”
Who hasn’t randomly burst out singing this song? I CAN’T SEE ME LOVING NOBODY BUT YOU, FOR ALL MY LIIIIIIIIIFE. So good.
The Cure – “Friday I’m in Love”
I love this song because sometimes you have the crappiest week, but then it’s Friday, and you’re in love.
Queen – ““You’re My Best Friend”
I think it’s important that your lover is also your friend. I think Queen understood that.
AUDIOSTRADDLE WRITER JESS G:
Devendra Banhart – “At The Hop”
“At The Hop” could be read as an end-of-relationship song, but I hear it differently. With eloquent words, Devendra Banhart artfully conveys the desperation of wanting to be near the one you love — in any incarnation.
Blink 182 – “Josie”
Blink 182 might not write the most profound lyrics, but they tell it like it is and that counts for something. With aggressive punk percussion and catchy melodies, they break down love to its molecular level — because love can be as simple as buying your true love a burrito from her favorite dive.
TECHNOSTRADDLE EDITOR TAYLOR:
Lucinda Williams – “Righteously”
For Flirtation / Southern Sexytimes
PJ Harvey – “You Said Something”
Earnest, atmospheric & best enjoyed on a rooftop having a moment
Ryan Adams – “Gonna Make You Love Me”
Says: “I’m upbeat & confident. I know you want me.”
ASSOCIATE EDITOR SARAH:
Iron & Wine – “Naked As We Came”
I think this is one of the best love songs ever. It’s so adorable and sincere! The rest of the album is fantastic, too.
BellX1 – “Rocky Took A Lover”
It talks about stars, and I think stars are a lovely thing to think about on a holiday for love. But it’s also about drinking, which is relevant to a lot of people on Valentine’s Day.
Pete Yorn – “Strange Condition”
Just for the line “you know you’re the best thing to come out of this place.”
AUDIOSTRADDLE WRITER KARMEN:
Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova (The Swell Season) – “Falling Slowly”
This is from the Once movie soundtrack and is one of the sweetest and most honest love songs I’ve ever heard. It’s the kind of song that your girlfriend might play after a big fight, and you’d forgive her instantly.
Sufjan Stevens – “The Dress Looks Nice On You”
Everything Sufjan does is brilliant, but this song is so simple lyrically, but so, so perfect. Because sometimes when we’re in love, it’s only the simple things that we can manage to verbalize.
Emiliana Torrini – “Me and Armini”
Iceland and raspy-voiced, this song is all about being willing to wait for someone you know is worth it and not giving a damn what anyone else says. Emiliana doesn’t recall writing the song, and claims she was possessed by a woman who was in love with a man named Armini.