I'm sorry to surprise some of you out there but Valentine's Day is in one more sleep.
Yes gentlemen, take a moment to catch your breath and panic.
But never fear, I have something that can help you out a little wee bit here. I decided that I would do some "Music to Swoon to" to help anyone out looking for some more songs for that Mixed CD (or pre-loaded mp3 player) that you are getting for that special someone.
Before I go into my songs, I want to say first of all that these are only suggestions, you need to of course use some of "your" songs in there. Also, this is aimed more at people in the throws of a new relationship, as such I avoided songs that evoked the dreaded L-Word.
Lastly making a CD/playlist for someone else is a really delicate art form and you need to follow a few rules.
A) Order Matters. Lord does it ever matter!! I know that it is so tempting with computers to just let it sort alphabetically, but don't you dare. The songs need to flow into one another well. I highly recommend that once you pick out a list you listen to it from start to finish. If you don't have the time then at least listen to the first and last 20 seconds or so of each song to tell how they transition to one another. They really need to build upon one another, and when I make a romantic CD I really try to imagine whoever I am making it for listening to it as they drift to sleep. So it starts out with the more fast paced ones and slowly mellows itself out.
B) Be Unique. Here's the thing, unless you are really lucky/sheltered everyone you have been with has been with other people before you. You need to make sure that when you make this CD that you DO NOT include any songs that may remind them of someone who came before you. Regardless of your musical taste, you need to stay away from artists like Jack Johnson and Dave Matthews. Why? Because they are cliche and so many people have some memories with someone else, and you don't want that!!!!
C) Include Some of the Familiar. Yeah I know this contradicts what I said above, but there is some logic to it. You need songs that they other person will know sprinkled in with some new ones to introduce them to. Everyone likes to listen to songs that they know and love. It's just a very tough call to try and strike a balance.
I guess that's enough of a long winded introduction. Here is the list of songs to use...
1. Oasis -- "Wonderwall". Yeah I know, I say be unique and then here I am putting out one of the most played songs of the past 20 years. But here me out, this pays attention to Rules A + C. It takes a very familiar song and puts it into a new context, and you need to start the CD out with a song that they will know. You don't want to turn them off the CD from the start now do you? See why the order is important??? And the best part is that this song came out in 1995. So if you are around my age, which I know most of you are, chances are any one's memories of someone else would be of a Grade 8 dance and they have probably gotten over it by now.
2. The Pixies -- "Here Comes Your Man". If you have not seen or read High Fidelity then go and do it right now...I'll wait...Well there is a wonderful scene were the main character, Rob, talks about the rules to making a good mixed tape. He says that you need to start big with the first song (check) and then take it up a notch for the second song. Well here we are taking it up a notch. This song is definitely taking it up a notch. The Pixies are one of the most underrated bands of the 90's and this is an excellent example as to why. If the song doesn't fit your own pronoun then a good alternate could be "Mushaboom" by Feist.
3. Sloan -- "I Can Feel It". In the above mentioned scene in High Fidelity, Rob says that you need to start to take it down a notch in the third song to not overdo it. Well here we are taking it down a little bit. I really like this song, it's chorus of "You've got a thing for me, I can feel it, I can feel it. I've got a thing for you too, you can have it, you can have it", is so high school cute.
4. Joel Plaskett -- "Nowhere With You". Another song that is almost adolescent with its lyrics. A great thing for a new relationship/love interest/"It's Complicated", especially this early in the CD, remember we are building to things here.
5. U2 --"Stay (Faraway, So Close)". This is where things get taken up a bit more after the last two light natured songs. The line of "If I could stay...and the night would be enough" ties into the next song a wee bit.
6. Howie Day -- "Morning After". Yeah I know, I'm taking a bit of a chance here with respect to Rule B due to the popularity of "Collide" a few years ago. But I tried to cram it in between some other songs that could ease the burden if that is an issue. The whole morning after theme of this song ties into the previous song's notion of staying the night. See order is important!!!
7. Elliot Smith -- "Between The Bars". Kind of a strange song that goes with the "to hell with anyone before me" theme that has been creeping into this album. I like the guitar riff in this song, and I think that Elliot Smith has an eerie sounding voice, so here it goes.
8. TV On the Radio -- "Ambulance". I talked about this song once before and my opinion of this song definitely has not changed. I will once again re-post the chorus here because I think that the lyrics are that amazing.
"oh i will be your ambulance if you will be my accident
i will be your screech and crash if you will be my crutch and cast
and i will be your one more time if you will be my one last chance
so sweet dream fall with me
fall fast fall free fall with me"
If you haven't heard this song by now, go and do it...
9. Eric Clapton -- "Wonderful Tonight". A classic romance song. If this doesn't help you out then I don't know what to say.
10. Semisonic -- "Secret Smile". Sure "Closing Time" was their big hit, but this is a much better song. conveys a strong "You are the only one for me right now" message that you should be going for right here.
11. Jason Mraz -- "I'm Yours". I'll quote my previous blog entry about this song, "This just seems like such a perfect song to dance romantically in the kitchen with that special someone to", therefore it's a must on this mix.
12. Jose Gonzalez -- "Crosses". Jose Gonzalez is proof that sometimes less is more, he keeps the guitar simple and it works. I love the opening line of "Don't you know that I'll be around to guide you through your weakest moments to leave them behind you? " it's very caring and supportive which should up your cred.
13. Jeff Healey Band -- "Angel Eyes". Another one of those gimme songs. Next.
14. Sufjan Stevens -- "The Dress Look Nice on You". I've mentioned my love for Sufjan on here more times than I dare search. This song wavers between poetry and prose and I love it. Should your significant other not be the dress wearing type perhaps take "To Be Alone With You" also by Mr. Stevens.
15. Rolling Stones -- "Wild Horses". Yeah another gimme song, I really love the line "You know I can't let you slide through my hands ", says a lot without saying too much.
16. Hawksley Workman -- "Safe and Sound". What would a playlist of mine be without Mr. Workman? This is among my favourite songs of his, very caring and nurturing and who doesn't love that? I love the line "We fit together like the ignition and the key", so typically Hawksley.
17. Foo Fighters -- "Everlong (Acoustic)". Another dangerous choice due to Rule B, but give it a try. I think that this song may have the most beautiful lyrics ever. But it is possibly my favourite song ever (along with "Rebellion (Lies)" by The Arcade Fire and "Jolene" by Cake) so perhaps I have a wee bit of bias.
18. Feist -- "La Sirena". What playlist of mine wouldn't have a Feist song? You all know my love for her. This song is really mellow and fits in with the falling asleep plan I said way back at the beginning.
19. Eva Cassidy -- "Time After Time". I know, Cindi Lauper's original is amazing, and Match Box 20's live cover is surprisingly good, but this is the best of the bunch. This is me combining Rules A & B, something unique but also familiar. Eva Cassidy is great for that, she has a wide range of excellent covers out there (mental note: her cover of "Ain't no Sunshine" should have been on my wallow list...)
20. Live -- "Dance With You (Acoustic)". Very romantic lyrics without going over the top. A non-single from a familiar band done to facilitate falling asleep or at least achieving a level of comfort. That's right this follows all three of my rules, booyeah!!! If there is only one song that you take from here, make it the one by TV on the Radio but if there are two, make it this one.
21. Hawksley Workman -- "Baby This Night". Yeah I know I already used Hawksley but it's my playlist so I can do what I want!!! This song is so great for any degree of swooning playlist. The chorus of "Baby this night can be ours, so just close your eyes" is a great way to end this playlist.
Wow this belongs among my most epic of blog posts. I guess I need to end it. I suppose that makes up for my lack of posting of late. I will very likely chime in with my thoughts on Valentine's Day (or Singles Awareness Day as I sometimes like to called it) as a whole tomorrow, my thoughts on the subject may just surprise you...
Until next time,